In an exciting quarterfinal match at the Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championship, the No. 15 Texas Tech men’s tennis team beat No. 20 Oklahoma, 4-2, to advance to the semifinals for just the third time since the inception of Big 12 Conference.
For the 18th time this season and the fifth time in six matches, No. 4 seed Tech (21-4) captured the doubles points as it won at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Gonzalo Escobar and Andre Stabile cruised to an 8-2 win over David Pultr and Ionut Beleleu at No. 2. The No. 3 duo of Vitor Manzini and David Gonzalez then got an 8-6 victory at No. 3 against Blake Boswell and Lawrence Formentera.
The Red Raiders won the doubles point all three times they played the Sooners (16-7) this year.
“Our No. 2 and 3 doubles teams played extremely well to get us off to a good a start,” said head coach Tim Siegel.
In singles action, Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead as 17th-ranked Raony Carvalho dominated No. 66 Beleleu, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 1. OU, the fifth seed, responded quickly taking the next two matches at No. 4 and 6, respectively, to tie the match at 2-2.
Red Raiders took a 3-2 lead in a straight-set win by Manzini at No. 5 as he beat George Chanturia, 6-4, 6-3. With the two matches remaining, No. 2 and 3, Tech got exactly what it needed from 48th-ranked Escobar. Playing at No. 2, Escobar won the first set, 6-1, but then fell in a second-set tiebreaker, 7-6 (3). In the third, the set was on serve until Escobar broke 27th-ranked Andrei Daescu to go up 4-3. He went up 5-3 before Daescu held serve at 5-4 and then Escobar served out the match to claim the victory for the Red Raiders.
“In singles, our No. 1 and 2 carried us throughout the first half of the season and they did it again today for us,” Siegel stated. “Ray (Raony Carvalho) played at an extremely high level and Vitor Manzini was as tough as he has been all year. I can’t say enough about Gonzalo (Escobar) having two match points at 6-5 in the second set and then having to start the third set. It just says so much about his determination and heart. Last year, we were here (Penick-Allison Tennis Center) for the NCAA Championships and had a couple team dual match points and a part of me thought ‘here we are at the same place, could it happen again?’. I’m very happy with how we played as a team. This is one of the best team wins in my years at Tech. This will keep us in the top 16, which will help us for the NCAA Championships. Now we look forward to playing a great Texas team on Saturday.”
Tech faces No. 1 seed and third-ranked Texas in the semifinals on Sat., May 1, at 12 p.m. at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center. It is the first time since 2004 that the Red Raiders have advanced to the semifinals.
#15 Texas Tech 4, #20 Oklahoma 2
Big 12 Championship – Quarterfinals
Penick-Allison Tennis Center
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 3)
1. #17 Carvalho/Garcia (TTU) vs. #19 Daescu/Paval (OU), 5-7, unfinished
2. Escobar/Stabile (TTU) def. Pultr/Beleleu (OU), 8-2
3. Manzini/David Gonzalez (TTU) def. Blake Boswell/Formentera (OU), 8-6
Singles (order of finish: 1, 4, 6, 5, 2)
1. #17 Raony Carvalho (TTU) def. #66 Ionut Beleleu (OU), 6-1, 6-2
2. #48 Gonzalo Escobar (TTU) def. #27 Andrei Daescu (OU), 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-4
3. Rafael Garcia (TTU) vs. #74 Costin Paval (OU), 7-6 (3), 5-7, unfinished
4. David Pultr (OU) def. Andre Stabile (TTU), 6-3, 6-4
5. Vitor Manzini (TTU) def. George Chanturia (OU), 6-4, 6-3
6. Lawrence Formentera (OU) def. Raphael Pfister (TTU), 6-4, 6-1