FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Oklahoma men’s tennis put in another special performance Saturday night in Fayetteville, Ark., as the Sooners took down Arkansas 5-2 inside the Dills Indoor Tennis Center.
The win makes it three straight for Sooners head coach Nick Crowell and his team, as Oklahoma went 2-0 in Norman at last week’s ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
"Today was a great road win against a well-coached and tough Arkansas team," Crowell said. "They really came out punching in doubles."
The Sooners had to climb out of an early hole to garner the victory.
"We regrouped and really started to compete at a high level in singles. Our guys never lost confidence or belief."
- Head Coach Nick Crowell
Arkansas’ doubles duo of Adam Sanjurjo and Oscar Mesquida defeated Oklahoma’s tandem of Alex Ghilea and Florin Bragusi, 6-2, at No. 2 doubles to begin the evening. The Sooners pairing of A.J. Chamdani and Adrian Oetzbach were then able to keep Oklahoma alive with a 6-3 win over Arkansas’ Johan den Toom/Branch Terrell.
At the No. 1 position, however, senior Andrew Harris and Junior Spencer Papa fell in a tight battle to the Razorbacks’ Mike Redlicki and Jose Salazar, 6-4, which gave Arkansas the doubles point and an early 1-0 match lead.
Oklahoma would show its fight after dropping just its second doubles point of the 2017 campaign. OU freshman Jochen Bertsch was the first to get the Sooners on the scoreboard, defeating Arkansas’ Juan Marino 6-4, 6-1 at No. 6 singles.
The senior leaders then came through for OU. Bragusi defeated den Toom, 6-4, 6-2, and almost immediately after, Ghilea conquered Sanjurjo 6-2, 6-4, to increase his team’s lead to 3-1.
Harris would clinch the match for Oklahoma at the No. 1 singles line. The Melbourne, Australia, native took down Redlicki, the nation’s No. 3 singles player in the Oracle/ITA rankings, 7-6 (5), 6-4, to clinch a third-straight match win for the Crimson and Cream.
Play would continue at No. 2 and No. 5 singles, where both squads earned another singles point by the night’s end. Oetzbach bounced back from a first set loss to defeat Mesquida (3-6, 6-3, 6-3), and No. 18 Papa fell to No. 19 Salazar in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
"We regrouped and really started to compete at a high level in singles," Crowell added. "Our guys never lost confidence or belief. We closed out matches when we had the chance and I think that made the difference."
Oklahoma will return to the Headington Family Tennis Center next weekend for two home matches vs. Wichita State (Fri, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m.) and Alabama (Sun, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m.) before the National Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., on Feb. 17-20. As with all regular season home matches, admission will be free for both contests.
For more information on Oklahoma men’s tennis, follow the team on Twitter @OU_MTennis.