ORLANDO – The No. 29 Oklahoma men’s tennis team upset No. 5 Texas A&M, 4-3, Saturday at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Fla., at USTA College Matchday after Jake Van Emburgh held on to win a three-set thriller.
After dropping the doubles point, the Sooners reeled off three straight wins, including an upset by Alex Bakshi over Texas A&M’s Patrick Kypson on the No. 1 court, to take a commanding 3-1 lead. The Aggies would rally to tie the match at 3-3, with all eyes on the No. 4 court for the decisive fourth and final point. Oklahoma’s Jake Van Emburgh, a freshman, rallied for a 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 win, fighting off a match point in the second set, to clinch the upset.
“Today was a great day for the team and the program,” said head coach Nick Crowell. “Our guys played with so much poise and toughness today and I'm really happy for them. It was a total team effort today and the fact that we were able to play on Tennis Channel at the home of Tennis in America made it extra special.”
In doubles play, Van Emburgh and Bakshi fell to No. 42 Kypson and Arthur Rinderknech, 6-4, on court one. Ferran Calvo and James Davis were defeated by A&M's Valentin Vacherot and AJ Catanzariti, 6-4, at No. 3 doubles.
When play was halted, Adrian Oetzbach and Max Stewart trailed No. 29 Juan Carlos Aguilar and Jordi Arconada, 6-5.
No. 108 Bakshi struck first in singles, upsetting No. 46 Kypson, 6-3, 6-3, to tie the match at 1-1. Jochen Bertsch got on the board next with a 6-2, 6-1, rout of Juan Carlos Aguilar on court five to push OU into the lead at 2-1
Freshman Stewart extended the Sooners’ lead to 3-1 with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 86 Catanzariti from the No. 6 line.
Texas A&M tied the match at 3-3 when No. 51 Jordi Arconada defeated OU's No. 22 Ferran Calvo, 6-3, 6-3, on court three and No. 21 Arthur Rinderknech bested Oetzbach, 6-3, 7-6 (6), at No. 2.
The contest then came down to Van Emburgh, who pulled off a three-set thriller on court four to clinch the match for the Sooners. The freshman dropped the first set, 6-1, but fought back in the second set and saved match point to take the frame to a tiebreaker, coming out on top to force a deciding set. The Belleair Beach, Fla., native defeated No. 17 Valentin Vacherot, 7-5, in the third set to complete the OU’s upset of Texas A&M in his home state.
“The heat, it gets to guys, I thought if I just put the ball in the court and make him play, make him keep making his shots, make him keep coming up with forehands down the line from nowhere, it was going to stop at some point,” said Van Emburgh. “I weathered the storm and I just tried to keep it composed and feed off the team. The guys – I love these guys."
“Jake fought back from a set and a break down and also faced match points,” said Crowell. “To come through in that moment was huge and he totally embraced that moment.”
The match aired live on Tennis Channel as part of the network’s first live college tennis series.
College MatchDay is a series of marquee neutral-site college tennis matches designed to showcase some of the nation’s top collegiate tennis programs through a college football bowl-like atmosphere. The event is free and will feature kids activities, live music, specialty food and drinks, games and giveaways on-site at the National Campus. Last year, six College MatchDay events attracted more than 5,300 fans.
The Sooners return to the Headington Family Tennis Center Friday, when they host Kentucky at 1 p.m. CT.
For updates, follow @OU_MTennis on Twitter.
- #108 Alex Bakshi (OU) def. #46 Patrick Kypson (TAMU) 6-3, 6-3
- #21 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. Adrian Oetzbach (OU) 6-3, 7-6 (7-6)
- #51 Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. #22 Ferran Calvo (OU) 6-3, 6-3
- Jake van Emburgh (OU) def. #17 Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5
- Jochen Bertsch (OU) def. Juan Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) 6-2, 6-1
- Max Stewart (OU) def. #86 AJ Catanzariti (TAMU) 6-1, 6-4
- #43 Arthur Rinderknech/Patrick Kypson (TAMU) def. Alex Bakshi/Jake van Emburgh (OU) 6-4
- Adrian Oetzbach/Max Stewart (OU) vs. #29 Juan Carlos Aguilar/Jordi Arconada (TAMU) 5-6, unfinished
- Valentin Vacherot/AJ Catanzariti (TAMU) def. James Davis/Ferran Calvo (OU) 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (1,5,6,3,2,4)