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Univ. of Oklahoma Men Team News
No. 1 Sooners Tame Baylor Bears for Third Time
Saturday, 04/11/2015

WACO, Texas – In perhaps the best collegiate tennis match of the year, the top-ranked Oklahoma men’s team survived a thriller against No. 2 Baylor in front of a historic crowd at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas to win 4-3 and take control of the Big 12 regular season title chase.
"It was an exciting match in a tough environment," head coach John Roddick said. "I am just glad we got out of there with a win. It was an unbelievable effort by our guys. All-in-all our mentality and our competitiveness was fantastic."
Dane (Webb) fighting off two match points is just Dane being Dane. I couldn't be more proud.
Head Coach John Roddick
The Sooners trailed 1-0 after a closely contested doubles point came down to a deciding tiebreak on court 1. The Sooners were unfazed however, taking four first sets to seize momentum early in singles.
Sophomore Andrew Harris, ranked No. 7 in the nation, tied the match at 1-all when he bested No. 31 Tony Lupieri 6-2, 7-5 at No. 2 singles. Harris survived a break late in the second to put OU on the board and grab his 13th win of the year.
Alex Ghilea, ranked No. 70, put Oklahoma up 2-1 with a straight-sets win at No. 4 singles. The sophomore bested Diego Galeano 6-3, 6-3 in controlling fashion to win his fifth consecutive match.
"Harris and Ghilea going through and winning and giving us two points on the board with straight-sets wins was really nice," Roddick said.
Things got tense from there.
On three, Dane Webb was in a trouble. The senior, ranked No. 30, trailed 3-5 in the third set with Baylor’s Max Tchoutakian, ranked No. 61, back to serve. Needing a break and a hold to keep the match alive, Webb did just that. The Sooner captain faced two match-points, but rallied to break the serve of Tchoutakian and he let the crowd on hand know it.
Webb’s energy carried into the tiebreak where he quickly led 4-1 after he was awarded a point when Baylor's bench was given a code violation on that court for heckling. Having overcome a first set loss and having trailed by a break in the third, Webb won the breaker 7-4 and let out a huge roar.
"Dane fighting off two match points is just Dane being Dane," Roddick said. "You always get that effort win or lose from Dane and 99 percent of the time he seems to come out on top in those matches. I couldn't be more proud."
With the Sooners up 3-1 with three matches remaining, things looked promising for Oklahoma. Baylor would not go quietly, however. The Bears made it 3-2 OU with a three-set win over Bragusi at six. The remaining two matches were neck and neck.
Axel did an unbelievable job. It was No. 1 vs. No. 2 in teams and No. 1 vs. No. 2 in individuals. To overcome that first set is just a tremendous effort.
Head Coach John Roddick
"Florin had a chance to win there and he played some really good tennis," Roddick said. "He played well enough to win. Two good players played a great match and someone had to lose."
On five, Spencer Papa had forced a third set tiebreak against senior All-American Mate Zsiga. Papa led 5-3 at one point, but dropped the next three points to give Zsiga, ranked No. 117, match-point at 5-6. A volley at the net by Zsiga finished the match and leveled things at 3-all.
"It was an incredicle effort there as well," Roddick said. "Even though Spencer lost he did everything he needed to do and he is a better tennis player walking off the court today."
Simultaneously the headlining match was also coming down to the wire at No. 1 singles. The nation’s top two singles players, Baylor’s Julian Lenz and Sooner Axel Alvarez, were locked in a marathon three-set match. Alvarez controlled the third set early, but Lenz broke to make it 4-5 and had to hold serve to stay alive. Finally, after more than three and a half hours, and seconds after Zsiga tied things at 3-all, Alvarez broke the serve of Lenz and clinched the match for OU with a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4 win.
"Axel did an unbelievable job," Roddick said. "It was No. 1 vs. No. 2 in teams and No. 1 vs. No. 2 in individuals. He dropped a tough first set, but fought back and played some great tennis to pull it out. To overcome that first is just a tremendous effort."
The win moves Alvarez to 18-0 in dual play and is his 12th win over a ranked opponent this season.
The 4-3 win moves the Sooners to 3-0 in conference play with all three wins coming against the conference’s highest ranked teams. OU has now won nine of its last 11 matches against the Bears.
Oklahoma has now beaten No. 2 Baylor three times this season including tonight’s win on their home court. The Sooners now have seven top-10 wins and 14 top-25 wins this season to go with a National Indoor Championship and the Oracle Classic title.
The Sooners look to remain perfect in conference play Sunday afternoon as they travel up the road to face No. 23 Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas at noon.
For more information on Oklahoma Men’s Tennis, follow the team on Twitter at @OU_MTennis.
#54 Lenz/Galeano def. #8 Webb/Alvarez  7-6 (7-4)
#52 Harris/Ghilea def. Rios/Schneider  6-4
Zsiga/Tchoutakian def. Papa/Bragusi  6-3
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1
 #2 Axel Alvarez def. #1 Julian Lenz 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4
 #7 Andrew Harris def. No. 31 Tony Lupieri  6-2, 7-5
 #26 Dane Webb def. #61 Max Tchoutakian 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(4)
 #70 Alex Ghilea def. Diego Galeano 6-3, 6-3 
 #117 Mate Zsiga def. Spencer Papa  4-6, 6-1, 7-6(5)
 Felipe Rios def. Florin Bragusi  5-7, 7-5, 6-4
Order of finish: 2, 4, 3, 6, 5, 1