MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The No. 23 Tulsa men’s tennis squad advanced to its eighth-straight Conference USA Men’s Tennis Championship finals match with a 4-2 triumph over SMU, on Saturday at the Dunavant-Wellford Tennis Center.
The Golden Hurricane (15-6) will face off against No. 35-ranked Memphis (13-7) in a noon tilt on Sunday for the Conference USA Championship title. Tulsa has won six of the past seven league crowns.
“I thought we played tough against a very good opponent in SMU,” commented Head Coach Vince Westbrook. “SMU is playing well right now, and they had a great run in the month of April. They really have come on as of late, and we had our hands full against them. I’m proud of our guys as they showed some great resiliency. Grant (Ive), although he didn’t finish his match, was in control at No. 3 singles. Carlos (Bautista) has had a heck of a tournament so far, and Cliff (Marsland) and Tristan (Jackson) played good matches. We were also very solid in doubles today.”
The Hurricane will face the host Tigers for this first time this year. This matchup also is a repeat of last year’s finals, where Tulsa defeated Memphis, 4-0.
“It is a great environment,” Westbrook added. “It has been an awesome experience for us. We are excited to play Memphis; they have a solid team that we haven’t seen this year. We know we will have a big crowd on hand for the match tomorrow, and we look forward to the challenge.”
Tulsa claimed the doubles point, as junior Clifford Marsland and sophomore Alejandro Espejo snared an 8-2 triumph over No. 83-ranked Arturs Kazijevs and Mischa Nowicki on Court 1. Claiming the point for the Hurricane was the tandem of junior Japie De Klerk and freshman Carlos Bautista, who defeated Nate Lammons and Eduardo Razzeto, 8-4 on Court 3.
In singles play, the Hurricane jumped out to a 2-0 advantage after Marsland, ranked No. 48 in singles play, defeated Gaston Cuadranti, 6-4, 6-3 on Court 2. The win marked Marsland’s ninth straight win in singles play.
SMU cut the TU lead into half after SMU’s Alex Sanders defeated Espejo, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 4 singles.
Senior Tristan Jackson pushed the lead to 3-1 with a 7-6, 6-4, victory on Court 6.
The Mustangs cut the Hurricane lead to 3-2 as TU’s De Klerk suffered a 7-5, 7-5, setback on Court 1 to Kazijevs.
Clinching the match for the second straight day was Bautista, who earned a hard-fought 6-1, 6-7, 6-3, win on Court 5 against Nowicki. Bautista is riding a 10-match winning streak in singles competition.
The only match that wasn’t finished in singles was on Court 3, as senior Grant Ive was in the midst of a 3-6, 6-3, 1-1 battle with Pablo Perez-Esnaola.
For all Tulsa men's tennis news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com. Follow Tulsa Athletics on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaHurricane and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TulsaHurricane. Follow Tulsa Men's Tennis on Twitter (http://twitter.com/TulsaMTennis) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TulsaMTennis).
Tennis Match Results
SMU vs Tulsa
Apr 20, 2013 at Memphis, Tenn.
#23 Tulsa 4, #72 SMU 2
1. Arturs Kazijevs (SMU) def. #41 Japie De Klerk (TLS) 7-5, 7-5
2. #48 Clifford Marsland (TLS) def. Gaston Cuadranti (SMU) 6-4, 6-3
3. Grant Ive (TLS) vs. Pablo Perez-Esnaola (SMU) 3-6, 6-3, 1-1, unfinished
4. Alex Sanders (SMU) def. Alejandro Espejo (TLS) 6-4, 6-3
5. Carlos Bautista (TLS) def. Mischa Nowicki (SMU) 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3
6. Tristan Jackson (TLS) def. Nate Lammons (SMU) 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
1. Clifford Marsland/Alejandro Espejo (TLS) def. Dominik Koepfer/Idan Mark (TLN) 8-6
2. Grant Ive/Tristan Jackson (TLS) def. Rodrigo Rappaccioli/Alex Van Cott (TLN) 8-4
3. Japie De Klerk/Carlos Bautista (TLS) vs. Ian Van Cott/Joe Young (TLN) 8-7, unfinished
Match Notes: SMU 11-10; National ranking #72
Tulsa 15-6; National ranking #23
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,4,6,1,5)