The 12th-ranked Tulsa men’s tennis team used four critical singles victories to capture a 4-2 win over No. 16 LSU on Sunday afternoon at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. The Hurricane (7-1) advances to the round of 16 of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships for the first time since 2004. The Indoor Championships will be held on Feb. 13-16 at the Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago, Ill.
Tulsa was clinging to a 3-2 lead when senior Ross Cunningham fired a cross-court, forehand winner against Mark Bowtell in the third set of No. 6 singles to seal the Tulsa win. Cunningham defeated Bowtell 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, in the final match of the day.
The Hurricane fell down 1-0 after losing their first doubles point of the season. Michael Venus and Neal Skupski climbed out of a 6-4 hole to defeat fourth-ranked Arnau Brugues and Philip Stephens, 8-6, in No. 1 doubles, and Marko Ballok and Ross Cunningham lost a tough 9-7 decision to Mark Bowtell and James Cluskey in the No. 2 position. Alberto Sottocorno and Ashley Watling picked up Tulsa’s lone doubles win with an 8-3 decision over Sebastian Carlsson and Jonathan Tragardh.
Tulsa bounced back and claimed three straight singles points from Arnau Brugues in the No. 1 position, Victor Kolik in the No. 2 spot and Philip Stephens in No. 3 singles to take a 3-1 lead. Arnau Brugues, ranked No. 10 in the nation, used a combination of powerful serves and precise groundstrokes to breeze past second-ranked Michael Venus, 6-1, 6-1.
Alberto Sottocorno lost a tough 7-6 (1), 7-6 (0), decision against Neal Skupski in No. 4 singles, closing Tulsa’s lead to 3-2 before Cunningham won his No. 6 singles match to clinch the win.
“I thought we showed a lot of resiliency after dropping the doubles point,” said Head Coach Vince Westbrook. “We knew coming in it was going to be a tough match. LSU is one of the best teams in the SEC and to beat them is big. Today we had a great environment and having all of our fans really helped.”
Before leaving for the National Indoors, Tulsa will play a double-header against Sacramento State and Wichita State on Feb. 7 starting at 12:30 p.m. at the Case Tennis Center.