NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 14 University of Oklahoma men's tennis team advanced to the Big 12 Championship finals after defeating rival No. 19 Texas, 4-1, at the Headington Family Tennis Pavilion Saturday, April 27.
"The effort in singles was probably one of our best efforts we had all year," OU head coach John Roddick said. "I was proud of the team effort in singles."
The No. 2 seed Sooners (17-6, 4-1 Big 12) defeated the No. 3 seed Longhorns (16-8, 3-2 Big 12) for the second time this season, but started Saturday's match slow.
Costin Paval and Dane Webb claimed the first win of the day by defeating Chris Camillone and Sudanwa Sitaram 8-3 on Court 1.
However, the Sooners lost the doubles point after losses on Courts 2 and 3.
"Doubles wasn't great," Roddick said. "At the same time, I thought even at Court 3 we played pretty well even though we lost there. On Court 2, we can play much better than we what we did. Court 1 was great."
Despite the weak start, the Sooners came into singles firing on all cylinders. Axel Alvarez Llamas, playing on Court 3, quickly tied the match for OU after he upset Daniel Whitehead, 6-2, 6-0.
"That's exactly what we talked about [starting strong] in the break," Roddick said. "We just came out and made them play tough points. That's how you change momentum in a hurry, when you make guys really work to finish points."
OU won all six of its first sets, which helped swing the momentum for the home team.
Guillermo Alcorta secured OU's lead with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Lloyd Glasspool and the Sooners never looked back.
Leonard Stakhovsky upset Sudanwa Sitaram, 6-1, 6-4, bringing OU's lead to 3-1. After that, Webb claimed the match for the Sooners, defeating Nick Naumann, 6-4, 6-4.
"Singles was really good because they literally did everything we talked about in the match as far as starting strong and not giving away free points," Roddick said. "We were really disciplined in the first sets. If you do that, you put yourself in a really good position."
OU's win over Texas advanced the Sooners to the finals of the Big 12 Championships Sunday, April 28, at 1 p.m.
They will face No. 13 Baylor, the first seed, who defeated fourth-seeded No. 35 TCU, 4-1, to advance to the finals.
The Bears, who went undefeated in Big 12 play and won the regular season championship, handed the Sooners' their only Big 12 loss of the season. Baylor beat OU, 6-1, in Waco, Texas, Friday, April 12.
"It's going to be a tough match," Roddick said. "It's two good, talented teams. I know the guys are ready to play and they're going to play hard. That's all we can ask for."
OU won the 2012 Big 12 regular season and tournament championships. They beat Baylor, 4-3, in College Station, Texas, in last year's finals.
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Oklahoma 4, Texas 1
1. No. 36 Paval/Webb (OU) def. No. 33 Camillone/Sitaram (UT), 8-3
2. No. 72 Chen/Whitehead (UT) def. No. 74 Alcorta/Alvarez Llamas (OU), 8-5
3. Glasspool/Hess-Olesen (UT) def. Papac/Formentera (OU), 8-6
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2
1. No. 19 Costin Paval (OU) vs. No. 38 Soren Hess-Olesen (UT), 6-2, 2-6, 2-3 (dnf)
2. No. 58 Guillermo Alcorta (OU) def. No. 108 Lloyd Glasspool (UT), 6-2, 6-2
3. Axel Alvarez Llamas (OU) def. No. 89 Daniel Whitehead (UT), 6-2, 6-0
4. No. 61 Dane Webb (OU) def. Nick Naumann (UT), 6-4, 6-4
5. Leonard Stakhovsky (OU) def. No. 118 Sudanwa Sitaram (UT), 6-1, 6-4
6. Nick Papac (OU) vs. Ben Chen (UT), 6-4, 4-5 (dnf)
Order of finish: 3, 2, 5, 4*