NORMAN, Okla. - The No. 14 Oklahoma men's tennis team advanced to the final of the NCAA Norman Regional, defeating Wichita State 4-1 on Friday at the Headington Family Tennis Center.
The Big 12 champion Sooners will face North Carolina State, 4-1 winners over Auburn, at 2 p.m. on Saturday for the right to compete in the Sweet Sixteen in Urbana, Ill., next week.
"Wichita State played really well and our guys had to realize it wasn't the same team we played in January," said OU head coach John Roddick. "I think that was the biggest key was for them to understand that and then get to work and treat it like any other match."
After losing the doubles point, Oklahoma (20-6) came on strong and quickly swept the first three singles points to pull ahead. Dane Webb won the first match and point of the day for Oklahoma on Court 4, defeating Tomislav Gregurovic, 6-3, 6-2. Webb was followed quickly behind Guillermo Alcorta on Court 2 who dispatched Illija Cuic, 6-2, 6-0.
A 6-2, 6-1 win by Costin Paval over the Shockers' Matheus Pereira put OU a point from advancing, but matches on the three remaining courts continued to go back and forth.
"[Wichita State] definitely woke our guys up," Roddick said. "They played really, really well. But our guys, through grit and determination and really digging deep pulled out some close matches when there was pressure on the line."
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Needing one more point, Oklahoma looked to Court 3 where Axel Alvarez Llamas was in a battle with Tin Ostojic. With the first set won by Alvarez Llamas and set two tied at 5-5, the Sooner freshman hit a deep, sliding forehand that brought his opponent to the ground and scored the point, giving Alvarez Llamas a 30-15 lead and the momentum.
Alvarez Llamas eventually took the game for the 6-5 lead in the set, then quickly won the set and the match for the Sooners with a final tally of 7-5, 7-5.
"I feel like we'll come out with a lot more energy," Roddick said. "You learn lessons you think you've learned and then you go back a step sometimes and do it so I think it's good experience moving forward in the tournament. Getting through a match like that and surviving to play another day will be really helpful."
Fans can purchase tickets to the Regional final or follow live results for the match against N.C. State. Follow @OU_Tennis on Twitter and like Oklahoma Men's Tennis on Facebook for more information about the men's tennis program.
Oklahoma 4, Wichita State 1
1. Pereira/Ostojic (WSU) vs. Paval/Webb (OU), 8-7, DNF
2. Cuic/Reyes (WSU) def. Alcorta/Alvarez Llamas (OU), 8-5
3. Gregurovic/Nicol (WSU) def. Formentera/Papac (OU), 8-4
Order of finish: 3, 2
1. Costin Paval (OU) def. Matheus Pereira (WSU), 6-2, 6-1
2. Guillermo Alcorta (OU) def. Illija Cuic (WSU), 6-2, 6-0
3. Axel Alvarez Llamas (OU) def. Tin Ostojic (WSU), 7-5, 7-5
4. Dane Webb (OU) def. Tomislav Gregurovic (WSU), 6-3, 6-2
5. Leonard Stakhovsky (OU) vs. Erick Reyes (WSU), 6-7 (8-6), 5-4 DNF
6. Nick Papac (OU) vs. Guillermo Nicol (WSU), 6-1, 1-6, 4-3 DNF
Order of finish: 4, 2, 1, 3