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OU Tennis Advances, OSU Heads Home

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No. 1 Sooners Top Northwestern

The top-ranked Oklahoma men's tennis team punched its ticket to the round of 16 of the 2015 NCAA Men's Division I Tennis Team Championships on Saturday with a 4-1 win over No. 28 Northwestern at the Headington Family Tennis Center.

Heavy rain and lightning forced play indoors for the second straight day. OU (26-2, 4-1) dropped the doubles point, but rallied to win the first four singles finished and take the match by the same score of the teams' meeting in January at the ITA Kick Off Weekend. The win sends Oklahoma to Waco, Texas for the remainder of the Championships.

“Singles was solid,” head coach John Roddick said. “We didn't dig any holes. The one spot where we got down, we got out of it and had control of that match when it finished. Doubles was close. It came down to a tiebreaker and a few points here or there. Overall we are playing better there.”

Trailing 1-0 after doubles, the Sooner needed to win four of the six singles matches to move on. They did just that.

Sophomore Andrew Harris put OU on the board first. The Melbourne, Australia native made quick work of Strong Kircheimer, winning 6-2, 6-2. Harris, ranked No. 7, remains unbeaten at number two singles and improves to 18-4 on the season.

Moments later Axel Alvarez put the Sooners on top 2-1 when he finished off No. 48 Sam Shropshire 6-1, 6-2. Alvarez led 5-0 in the first set before Shropshire held to snap a 17-game win streak for the nation's top ranked player. Alvarez has dropped just three games so far in NCAA Championship play.

“It is pretty impressive to play like that at one,” Roddick said. “When you are moving the ball around like that and not making errors it is tough to handle.”

OU's next point came on court five where freshman Spencer Papa finished off a 6-1, 6-4 win over Fedor Baev. The win is Papa's first career postseason victory.

“He was just really patient,” Roddick said. “He hit solid ground strokes in rallies and wasn't going for too much and didn't leave it short either. He just really did a good job of forcing that guy into errors all day. He won 12 games to five. That is pretty solid.”

Sophomore Alex Ghilea finished things off for OU, winning a second-set tiebreak 7-3 to take his match with Logan Staggs 6-2, 7-6(3). The win moves Ghilea to 20-5 on the season and makes him just the second Sooner to hit the 20-win mark, joining Alvarez.

Oklahoma's four singles wins allowed it to overcome a close doubles loss.

At number three doubles, Alvarez and sophomore Jose Salazar jumped out to an early 3-0 lead over Horoz and Kumar. The Sooner duo held serve and added a break down to the stretch to win 8-4 and improve to 3-1 as a team.

Ghilea and Harris opened their match with Shropshire and Alex Pasareanu with a break, but gave up a pair of their own to trail 6-4. Needing a break to get back into the match, the Sooners twice had chances at advantage and looked to have taken the game, but Northwestern called a volley wide and the chair official upheld the ruling. Northwestern went on to hold and take the match 8-5.

With the first two matches split, doubles came down to court number two where Papa and senior Dane Webb were headed to a tiebreaker with Beav and Kircheimer. After a match in which neither pair earned a break, Northwestern took three points on OU's serve to win the breaker 7-3 and give Northwestern the doubles point and a 1-0 lead.

This is the 11th time this season Oklahoma has dropped the doubles point but gone on to win the match.

The Sooners will now travel to Waco, Texas where they will play the winner of No. 16 UCLA vs. No. 19 Texas Tech on Thursday, May 14 at 10 a.m. CT.

“We are going to get an idea of the practice schedule, but we are going to take a day off and then head out,” Roddick said. “We are ready to get it going and I think the guys are excited to play.”

The Red Raiders are one of just two teams to beat OU this season. The Sooners dropped a close one in Lubbock, 4-3 in conference play. OU last saw UCLA in the NCAA semifinals last season. OU won 4-2 to advance to the NCAA final.

This is the third consecutive season the Sooners have advanced to the round of 16 and the fourth time in Roddick's tenure.

Cowboys Eliminated By Texas A&M

The Oklahoma State men's tennis squad wrapped up its 2014-15 season, falling to sixth-ranked Texas A&M in a hard-fought match, 4-2, in the second round of the NCAA Championships at the Mitchell Tennis Center on Saturday.

The Cowboys shocked the Aggies, pulling out an exciting doubles win. No. 24 Jakob Sude and Arjun Kadhe knocked off the 10th-ranked team of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant with an 8-5 victory. Finishing off the doubles win was Lukas Finzelberg and Jurence Mendoza at the No. 3 spot. The pair defeated AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech with their own 8-5 win.

In singles, A&M evened up the score with a 6-1, 6-1 win on court four.

The Aggies went on to grab a 3-1 lead as Finzelberg fell to No. 92 Catanzariti and No. 115 Lucas Gerch lost a tough bout against No. 80 Shane Vinsant.

Kadhe, ranked No. 122, defeated Arthur Rinderknech in a marathon of a first set as Kadhe took the set in a 13-11 tiebreaker. He went on to dominate his opponent in the second set, emerging with a 6-1 victory and keeping the Cowboys alive with a 3-2 team score.

The match came down to action on courts one and six with Sude and Nicolai Ferrigno fighting hard for the Pokes.

Ferrigno lost to Jordi Arconada in a three-setter. The senior picked up a 7-6(4) win in the first set, but was taken to a third set after Arconada won the second, 6-3. The Cowboy held on as the third set was taken to another tiebreaker but was outlasted, 7-6(4).

In similar fashion, No. 47 Sude won his first set in a tiebreaker on court one, but No. 47 Jeremy Efferding forced the match to a third set with a 6-2 victory in the second. The Cowboy trailed 6-5 in the third before the match was decided.

“This was a heartbreak,” coach Jay Udwadia said. “Both teams battled it out. Our guys came ready to play but just fell a little short. I'm proud of our team, and we are fired up to build upon this season for next year.”

The 2015 Cowboys (17-10; 0-5 Big 12) made their first back-to-back NCAA appearances since the 2007 and 2008 season. They also put together their second 15-win season since 2008 with 10 of those wins coming over ranked opponents.

Sude and Kadhe will continue postseason action as they compete in the NCAA doubles tournament May 20-25. Sude will also represent the Cowboys in the singles bracket.

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