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Univ. of Oklahoma Men Team News
Oklahoma is Final Four Bound
Tuesday, 05/19/2015

WACO, Texas – The top-ranked Oklahoma men’s tennis team topped No. 8 Georgia 4-2 in the quarterfinals round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Team Championships on Saturday in Waco, Texas.
“Georgia played a great match,” head coach John Roddick said. “We played doubles as well as we have all year again. We try to put teams in tough positions where it will take a heck of an effort to come back and beat us. That’s what we did today.”
With the win, Oklahoma (28-2) moves on to the semifinals round for the second time in program history and the second consecutive season.
“It was one of our top goals of the year to reach this point,” Roddick said. “That was a goal, but we are not happy just being in the final four. We want to play another good match and get through that one to play for a national championship. Beating a team like Georgia, that is one of the best of all time, says a lot about our guys. They are fearless and they can put it on the line when it matters.”
The Sooners jumped out to a 1-0 lead by turning in another spectacular doubles performance.
“Someone asked me how we are thriving in doubles,” Roddick said. “I like hearing that because I haven’t heard it all year. We are playing really well. Sometimes you go out and play really well and still lose, that’s doubles. We’re playing as well as we have all year and you can feel the confidence when they walk out there. They aren’t wondering if they are going to play well, they know they are going to put out a good performance.”
On court one, sophomore Andrew Harris and Alex Ghilea picked up an 8-3 win over the nation’s No. 1 doubles team of Austin Smith and Ben Wagland. The 57th-ranked Sooner pair picked up their ninth win in its last 11 matches by taking a pair of breaks and holding serve for the duration of the match.
Just one break was the difference on court three. Sophomore Jose Salazar and junior Axel Alvarez broke Eric Diaz and Paul Oosterbaan at 3-2 and held serve to the end to take an 8-5 win. Oklahoma’s Spanish duo is now 4-1 at number three doubles.
The match on court two was tied at 6-all when the doubles point was clinched.
Oklahoma’s revamped doubles lineup is now 5-1 this season since debuting in the Big 12 Championships.
Georgia stormed out to early leads in singles. The Bulldogs were up breaks on five courts early, but the Sooners would rally to win three first sets.
Alvarez rebounded from his first loss of the season on Thursday with a dominant performance against No. 24 Wayne Montgomery. The normally quiet Alvarez made quick work of Montgomery, winning 6-1, 6-1, and he let the crowd and his teammates know about it.
Alvarez is the top ranked singles player in the nation and reigning Big 12 Player of the year. He improves his dual play record to 24-1.
“You beat Wayne Montgomery one and one—he’s a guy that makes you play a lot of balls,” Roddick said. “We’ve played him in a lot of situations and it’s almost always a tough three-setter. To rebound like that after losing you first match of the year, stands out to me. He played a high level of tennis and it’s tough to breathe out there when he is hitting the ball that big and not making any errors.”
"It was important for me after the loss I had in the last match," Alvarez said. "I really wanted to win this one mentally. I just put a lot of intensity into it and I was focused from the beginning. I wanted it really badly. I played my best tennis today."
Georgia cut the Sooner lead to 2-1 with a win at number three singles, but sophomore Florin Bragusi answered right back for OU, winning 6-4, 6-2 over Paul Oosterbaan. Bragusi trailed 3-0 in the first set and was serving at 0-40 before running off four straight games and cruising to a straight-sets win. The sophomore has now won four of his last six matches including a clinching win against UCLA Thursday in the round of 16.
Georgia would cut the lead to 3-2 with a win at number 5 singles. That left two matches remaining with OU needing to win just one.
On court two, Harris had forced a third set after dropping the first and was up a pair of breaks at 4-1 over No. 30 Austin Smith.
On court four, Ghilea was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second. The Bulldogs would break serve on both courts and suddenly the Sooners faithful in attendance were nervous. Roddick and the Sooners, however were not.
“We’ll take that situation,” Roddick said. “We were in a good spot. It’s always tougher to close it out in the later stages, but we had two great chances. You want to be in that spot.”
Georgia’s rally would fall short. Ghilea held serve for 6-5 and then broke the serve of Ben Wagland at 30-40 on a double fault. Ghilea’s 7-6(4), 7-5 win gave OU the 4-2 win and a spot in Monday’s national semifinal.
“Alex is used to that situation,” Roddick said. “We are happy to have him and Florin out there because they tend to play longer matches. They have hardly lost in that situation.”
In the semifinals, the Sooners will face conference foe and fifth-ranked TCU at 1 p.m. at the Hurd Tennis Center. Oklahoma beat the Horned Frogs 4-1 at home during regular season conference play. OU won the doubles point and then added three singles to take the win.
As the No. 5 overall seed, the Horned Frogs advanced to the semifinals with wins over Wake Forest and North Carolina. TCU has dropped just one point during the championships.
“TCU has gotten better all year long,” Roddick said. “From indoors when I first saw them to now you can tell they are more confident in themselves. It’s going to be a tough match, much tougher than the match we played with them at home. We’ll be ready to battle and have tough points out here.”
Saturday’s win gives Oklahoma 28 total for the season, tying for the most in program history with last season’s team and the 1977 Sooner squad. OU’s current .933 win percentage is the best in program history.
For more information on Oklahoma Men’s Tennis, follow the team on Twitter at @OU_MTennis.
#57 Harris/Ghilea def. #1 Smith/Wagland  8-3       
Webb/Papa vs. Montgomery/Pasha  6-7 unfinished
Alvarez/Salazar def. Diaz/Osterbaan  8-5
Order of finish: 1, 3
#1 Axel Alvarez def. #24 Wayne Montgomery  6-1, 6-1
#7 Andrew Harris vs. #30 Austin Smith  4-6, 6-4, 5-4 unfinished
#31 Nathan Pasha def. #44 Dane Webb  6-2, 6-3
#103 Alex Ghilea def. Ben Wagland  7-6(4), 7-5
Nick Wood def. Spencer Papa  6-2, 2-6, 6-3
Florin Bragusi def. Paul Oosterbaan  6-4, 6-2
Order of finish: 1, 3, 6, 5, 4