No. 3 Texas captured the doubles point, but No. 20 Oklahoma rallied to produce four singles wins, as the Sooners edged the Longhorns by a 4-2 count in a five-plus hour match in the NCAA Championships’ round of 16. Texas’ season comes to an end at 27-3.
The Longhorns and Sooners opened their lengthy match Friday evening at 8:45 Eastern time and wrapped it up just before 2 a.m. Eastern on Saturday. The match had already been delayed nearly three hours due to rain. Texas opened the match by taking two of three doubles matches to secure the doubles point. At second doubles, UT’s Kellen Damico and Ed Corrie held serve and broke OU’s Ionut Beleleu and David Pultr to take a 2-0 lead. Damico and Corrie held serve for a 3-0 lead and maintained their service throughout the match, as they cruised to an 8-3 win at second doubles.
At third doubles, Texas’ Jean Andersen and Vasko Mladenov broke OU’s Blake Boswell and Lawrence Formentera for a 2-1 lead and held serve for a 3-1 lead. OU took the next four games behind two breaks and two holds of serve and assumed a 5-3 lead.
Texas would respond, as Andersen and Mladenov broke in the next game, held serve to even the match at five and broke Boswell and Formentera once more to take a 6-5 lead. The UT duo served for the match with a 7-6 lead and held serve to preserve an 8-6 win and clinch the doubles point.
UT’s Dimitar Kutrovsky and Josh Zavala held a 7-3 lead over OU’s Andrei Daescu and Costin Paval at first doubles before allowing the Sooners’ tandem to pull within 7-6 when the match was suspended.
The Sooners got on the board at third singles, where the 74th-ranked Paval posted a 6-4, 6-1 win over UT’s Damico. Texas’ Kutrovsky put the Horns back in the lead at 2-1 with a 7-5, 6-3 win over the Sooners’ 28th-ranked Daescu. Oklahoma’s 65th-ranked Beleleu evened the tally at two when he posted a 6-4, 6-3 win over Texas’ 20th-ranked Corrie at second singles.
At fourth singles, UT’s Andersen held a 5-2 first-set lead over OU’s Pultr, but Pultr held serve, broke Andersen and held once more to even the set at five. Andersen held serve in the next game, as did Pultr, which sent the set into a tiebreaker, where Pultr prevailed, 7-5. Pultr took a 5-2 lead in the second set, but Andersen sandwiched two service holds around a service break of Pultr to even the set at five. The set progressed into a tiebreaker, where Pultr emerged with a 7-2 win to give the Sooners a 3-2 lead.
The matches at fifth and sixth singles, played on a pair of isolated courts at UGA’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex, began after the first four singles matches due to lingering moisture on the courts. UT’s Mladenov took the first set off of OU’s Formentera at sixth singles , but Formentera rallied and took the second set in a tiebreaker, 7-2. Mladenov and Formentera held serve in their first service games of the set, but neither maintained their serve in the ensuing three games until Formentera held for a 4-2 lead. Mladenov responded by holding serve at 4-3 and breaking Formentera’s serve to even the set at four. Mladenov held serve for a 5-4 lead, but Formentera held serve once more and kept the match alive.
Formentera registered one more service break and held serve in the decisive game to win the set, 7-5 and preserve the Oklahoma win. UT’s Zavala had taken the first set in a tiebreaker off of OU’s George Chanturia at fifth singles before going to another tiebreaker in the next set. Zavala held multiple match points but could not close out Chanturia, who was victorious in the tiebreaker, 8-6. Chanturia held a 1-0 third-set lead when Formentera registered the clinching point.
Texas’ Dimitar Kutrovsky and Ed Corrie will open play in the 64-player singles draw at the NCAA Championships on May 26. Kutrovsky and Zavala will open competition the following day in the 32-team doubles draw.
Texas head coach Michael Center
“I feel bad for our seniors. They’ve played so well. I’ve got to give OU credit. They hung in there and fought , but for some reason, we just couldn’t get it going. I’ve have not seen that all year long. Every time we had a chance to put pressure on them and gain momentum, we couldn’t do it. I don’t know why. We practiced well, and I thought we were ready to play. We lost tiebreakers, and we just could not get any momentum.
“We couldn’t serve tonight. I’ve never seen us double-fault the way we were double-faulting tonight. We weren’t aggressive. We just could not seem to put it together tonight. I’m just sad for our seniors that they had to go down, but I’ve got to give Oklahoma credit. They fought hard and outplayed us tonight.”
NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships – Round of 16
No. 20 Oklahoma 4, No. 3 Texas 2
Doubles – Order of Finish: 2, 3
1 #6 Dimitar Kutrovsky/Josh Zavala (UT) vs. Andrei Daescu/Costin Paval (OU) – 7-6, susp.
2 #40 Ed Corrie/Kellen Damico (UT) def. #65 Ionut Beleleu/David Pultr (OU) – 8-3
3 Jean Andersen/Vasko Mladenov (UT) def. Blake Boswell/Lawrence Formentera (OU) – 8-6
Singles – Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2, 4, 6
1 #10 Dimitar Kutrovsky (UT) def. #28 Andrei Daescu (OU) – 7-5, 6-3
2 #65 Ionut Beleleu (OU) def. #20 Ed Corrie (UT) – 6-4, 6-3
3 #74 Costin Paval (OU) def. #99 Kellen Damico (UT) – 6-4, 6-1
4 David Pultr (OU) def. Jean Andersen (UT) – 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2)
5 #95 Josh Zavala (UT) vs. George Chanturia (OU) – 7-6 (2), 6-7 (6), 0-1, susp.
6 Lawrence Formentera (OU) def. Vasko Mladenov (UT) – 2-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5