NORMAN — Oklahoma men's tennis moved to 7-1 on the season and earned its fifth consecutive victory Sunday, the program’s longest regular season streak since the 2015 season, by defeating Alabama 5-2 inside the Gregg Wadley Indoor Pavilion at the Headington Family Tennis Center.
For the sixth time in eight tries this year, the Sooners earned the doubles point to open the match. No. 42 in the Oracle/ITA national doubles rankings, Andrew Harris and Spencer Papa pulled away from Alabama’s duo of Mazen Osama/Spencer Richey in earning a 6-3 win.
At No. 2 doubles, the 14th-ranked Sooner team of Alex Ghilea and Florin Bragusi defeated the Tide’s Alexey Nesterov/Zhe Zhou, also 6-3. The No. 3 doubles spot would go unfinished, where OU’s pair of Adrian Oetzbach and Adrian Chamdani were on the courts.
The Tide featured two ranked singles players in No. 82 Thibault Cancel and No. 92 Osama, while the Sooners came into the match with three – No. 24 Papa, No. 27 Harris and No. 105 Bragusi.
Bragusi came out of the gates rolling and never looked back, making quick work of Richey in a 6-2, 6-0 victory. The win pushed the senior to 6-1 in dual singles play.
The scoreboard remained stuck at 1-0 Oklahoma for a while, however a quick trio of singles wins extended the Sooners' lead to 4-1 and clinched the dual win.
Freshman Jochen Bertsch defeated Richie Kruunenberg in straight sets Sunday to improve to 5-1 in singles on the year.
Jochen Bertsch was the first of those three, defeating Richie Kruunenberg 6-1, 7-5 at the No. 5 spot to boost his singles record in dual play to 5-1. Arnaud Restifo, also a freshman, extended his team’s lead to 4-0 and secured the dual victory by battling back at No. 6 singles to win 3-6, 6-1, 6-0. The Nice, France, native moved to 2-0 in singles on the year with the win.
"I think it was huge for Arnaud to get in there in the lineup against a high quality opponent like Alabama," OU head coach Nick Crowell said. "He lost the first set, but once he really settled in he got really comfortable. For him, it was all about competing and not thinking too much. He just competed and tried to win every point — he didn't worry about how things felt."
Alabama cut Oklahoma’s lead to 4-1 when Edson Ortiz defeated Oetzbach 7-6, 6-3 at line four singles, but shortly afterward, Ghilea captured Oklahoma’s fifth point of the match with a 7-6, 6-4 win over Cancel.
"I thought Alex did a great job stepping up high in the lineup today," Crowell added. "He played a really good opponent who's going to be one of the best players in college tennis at some point in his career, so it was a good win. He really stepped up when we needed him."
Harris, the back-to-back Big 12 Player of the Week and last week’s ITA Big Mover of the Week, fell at No. 1 singles, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to Osama.
The win improved Oklahoma’s record on the season to 7-1, with the lone loss coming at No. 2 Wake Forest. The Sooners’ next appearance comes Feb. 17-20 at the National Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va. Oklahoma claimed its first ever national indoor title in 2015.
The team will return to the Gregg Wadley Indoor Pavilion on Feb. 24 to take on Tulsa. As always, admission for regular season matches is free.
For more information on Oklahoma men’s tennis, follow the team on Twitter @OU_MTennis.
1. #42 Harris/Papa def. Osama/Richey - 6-3
2. Ghilea/Bragusi def. Nesterov/Zhou - 6-3
3. Chamdani/Oetzbach vs. Cancel/Ortiz - 5-4 UNF
1. #92 Mazen Osama def. #27 Andrew Harris - 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
2. Alex Ghilea def. #82 Thibault Cancel - 7-6, 6-4
3. #105 Florin Bragusi def. Spencer Richey - 6-2, 6-0
4. Edson Ortiz def. Adrian Oetzbach - 7-6, 6-3
5. Jochen Bertsch def. Richie Kruunenberg - 6-1, 7-5
6. Arnaud Restifo def. Langord Hills - 3-6, 6-1, 6-0