Sooners Meet Wake Forest in Round of 16
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The No. 21 Oklahoma men’s tennis team continues its postseason push Friday with a round of 16 matchup against No. 3 Wake Forest at the Winston-Salem Super Regional.
The winner will advance to the NCAA quarterfinals in at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., on May 16.
LAST TIME OUT
OU claimed its eighth regional championship at the College Station Regional with wins over No. 29 Arizona (4-0) and No. 13 Texas A&M (4-3) advance to the Winston-Salem Super Regional.
Against Arizona in the first round, the Sooners used the doubles point and singles wins from Alex Bakshi, Mason Beiler and Jochen Bertsch to sweep the Wildcats.
In a second-round thriller against No. 13 Texas A&M, OU won the doubles point before tallying wins from Ferran Calvo, Bertsch and Beiler.
The contest came down to Beiler on court five. The freshman won the first set against Noah Schachter 6-2 before Schachter took the second frame 6-4 to force a breaker. A wild third set went to a tiebreaker. After trailing 6-3 in the breaker, Beiler ultimately saved seven match points to close out the set and the match 7-6 (7) on a forehand winner.
REGULAR SEASON IN REVIEW
The Sooners completed the regular season at 15-10 overall. OU went 12-3 at the Headington Family Tennis Center, with its three losses coming to top-25 opponents.The Sooners recorded seven shutouts this season, with six of those coming at home. OU opened the season with sweeps of its first five opponents, racking up a 26-0 combined record to open the season. Additionally, the Sooners blanked Texas Tech 4-0 in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament.
Oklahoma tallied seven wins over ranked opponents, downing No. 49 Kentucky (Feb. 24), No. 45 Tulsa (March 1), No. 21 Florida State (March 3), No. 50 Memphis (March 8), No. 46 USF (March 24), No. 27 Oklahoma State (March 29) and No. 18 Texas Tech (April 19).
OU makes its tenth straight NCAA tournament appearance in 2019. The Sooners have made the tournament 14 times in program history. The Sooners have advanced to the NCAA second round or further in each of the last seven seasons, including 2019.
2019 marks the seventh time in program history and the sixth time in seven years that OU has advanced to the round of 16. Oklahoma reached three consecutive NCAA finals in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The Sooners own a 27-13 all-time NCAA tournament record.
The Sooners’ strength of schedule is rated 13th nationally by Slam Tennis. 15 of OU’s 2019 opponents earned NCAA tournament berths. Four of these won their conference championships – Baylor (Big 12), Mississippi State (SEC), Drake (Summit League) and USF (American).
OU played 17 matches against ranked opponents, with 12 of those top-25 clashes. All five of the Sooners’ conference matches were against ranked teams, including then-No. 1 Texas on April 14.
WHERE THEY RANK
The Sooners check in at No. 21 in the most recent ITA release. In singles, Papa is No. 32, Bakshi is No. 41 and Van Emburgh is No. 77. Bakshi and Tsorotiotis were tabbed No. 25 in the ITA doubles rankings, good for a season-high for the duo.
Additionally, OU was tabbed No. 18 in the USTA/Tennis Channel Top 25.
Scouting Wake Forest
Defending national champion Wake Forest (31-3) advanced by virtue of wins over Morgan State (5-0) and No. 36 Kentucky (4-1) in the first and second rounds of the Wake Forest Regional, respectively.
The Demon Deacons’ lineup includes three players ranked in the latest ITA singles release. Defending singles national champion and No. 8 Petros Chrysochos owns a 21-2 record between courts one and two. No. 11 Borna Gojo is 11-3 at the No. 1 line. Tabbed No. 50, Bar Botzer is 23-2 on the season, playing primarily on court three.
In doubles, No. 54 Alan Gadjiev and Julian Zlobinsky are 5-0 between courts one and two. Chrysochos and Botzer are No. 55 with a 16-5 record at the one and two spots. No. 63 Gojo and Gadjiev are 9-8 on the season at the No. 1 line.
The Sooners own the all-time series with Wake Forest 5-3. The last time the teams met was Jan. 21, 2017 in Winston Salem when the then-No. 2 Demon Deacons prevailed 7-0.
OU has met the Demon Deacons just once in the postseason, with that clash in the round of 16 in 2016. The Sooners swept Wake Forest 4-0 to avenge a 4-1 loss during the regular season.