NORMAN – No. 17 Oklahoma men’s tennis capped off its regular season in style on Saturday at the Headington Family Tennis Center, defeating No. 5 Oklahoma State 4-0 on Senior Day.
The Sooners' (14-9, 2-3 Big 12) senior trio of Florin Bragusi, Alex Ghilea and Andrew Harris were honored before the match prior to their final regular season home match. The three have combined for 201 career singles wins and 115 career doubles wins. Ghilea and Harris have been a part of three national runner-up teams, while Bragusi was a member of the 2015 and 2016 teams.
OU head coach Nick Crowell’s squad was on fire from the start, taking the doubles point against a Cowboys (21-5, 3-2 Big 12) team who entered the day 21-4 in doubles.
Harris, coming off a 12-match absence from injury, teamed up with junior Spencer Papa to take down the nation’s No. 4 doubles team of Julian Cash and Arjun Kadhe, 6-4. The duo, now back in business with Harris’ return, moved to 5-3 at No. 1 doubles in 2017.
The Sooners used a clutch performance and comeback from their German freshmen tandem, Jochen Bertsch and Adrian Oetzbach, to clinch the doubles point. The pair were down 4-1 before fighting back to win their match 7-5 on court three.
"I was really pinning this one on the calendar to be healthy by. It’s special playing alongside Alex and Florin. These are some of the last matches we’ll ever play together, so it was pretty special."
- OU Senior Andrew Harris
The momentum was carried over into singles, where the Sooners were special all afternoon. Oklahoma took all six first sets over the No. 5 Cowboys to build a healthy advantage.
OU saw production from every court in singles. Papa, the nation’s No. 18 singles player, defeated No. 93 Arjun Kadhe 6-2, 6-2 to increase Oklahoma’s lead to 2-0. Papa, who has spent much of the season at No. 1 singles, moved to 10-9 in dual match singles this spring.
Oetzbach continued his dominant play with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 77 Lucas Finzelberg at No. 6 singles. The win was the third in as many matches for the Velbert, Germany, native who earned his eight victory this year.
Harris, Bertsch, Bragusi and Ghilea were all leading on their respective courts as Oklahoma looked for the final tally to clinch the win. It was eventually Harris who clinched the dual for his team, using a 7-5, 6-4 win over Julian Cash to move to 5-3 at the No. 1 singles spot on the year.
Harris, a Melbourne, Australia, native made it his mission to return from injury to play alongside his fellow seniors, Bragusi and Ghilea.
“I was hoping I’d be healthy for this match,” Harris said. “I was doing everything I could for the past few months, and I was really pinning this one on the calendar to be healthy by. It’s special playing alongside Alex and Florin. These are some of the last matches we’ll ever play together, so it was pretty special.”
Ghilea went 7-6, 5-2, unfinished on court three and Bragusi’s day ended at 6-2, 6-5, unfinished. Bertsch also finished his day up a set, which gave the Sooners the clean sweep in singles, taking all nine completed sets.
"I think everyone bought into the process and was working hard and it paid off. I’m just excited for the guys – they deserve it."
- OU head coach Nick Crowell
Crowell was glad to see his team continue its winning ways, as the Sooners were coming off a 4-2 win at Texas Tech.
“Just a lot of hard work these last 10 days getting ready for this match,” Crowell said. “I think everyone bought into the process and was working hard, and it paid off. We got the doubles point and I think that was a big difference for our confidence and momentum. I’m just excited for the guys – they deserve it.”
The victory was Oklahoma’s 10th straight over Oklahoma State, a streak dating back to 2009.
Saturday’s win will not be the last match at the Headington Family Tennis Center for the trio of seniors and the rest of the squad, as OU hosts the Big 12 tournament from April 27-29 for men’s and April 27-30 for the women. Check back with SoonerSports.com for a complete bracket and match times.
For more information on Oklahoma men’s tennis, follow the team on Twitter @OU_MTennis.