Feb. 19, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. - The 20th-ranked men's tennis team dropped a 5-2 decision to No. 44 Oklahoma Friday in a match that lasted four hours at the Gregg Wadley Pavilion. With the loss, the Crimson Tide drops to 3-5 on the season, while the Sooners improve to 4-1 overall.
"We knew this would be another tough match and expected it to go down to the wire, which it did," head coach Billy Pate said. "We did a good job getting the lead by winning the doubles point, but got off to a very slow start in singles for some reason. We fought back and had momentum, but didn't quite turn the corner. We're just not winning game points, break points and capitalizing when the opportunity presents itself."
Alabama got started on the right foot as it secured the doubles point with a wins at No. 1 and No. 2, however Oklahoma's duo of freshman Lawrence Formentera and junior Ionut Beleleu was the first team off the court with a win taking down Tide sophomore Michael Thompson and freshman Ian Chadwell 8-3 on court three. Alabama senior Saketh Myneni and sophomore Michael Davis evened the count as the Tide tandem garnered an 8-5 victory over Sooner sophomore David Pultr and freshman Costin Paval at the No. 1 spot. The doubles point was won on court two moments later by sophomore Ricky Doverspike and freshman Jarryd Botha by a score of 8-6 over Oklahoma seniors Andrei Daescu and Blake Boswell.
The Sooners took a 3-1 lead with a trio of straight-sets victories to start singles. First off the court was the matchup at No. 3 where 80th-ranked Paval came out on top against Botha 6-2, 6-4. Oklahoma sophomore George Chanturia followed that up with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Chadwell at No. 6 to put the Sooners in front for the first time in the match. Oklahoma came within one of winning the overall dual match as Formentera won 7-6(4), 6-1 over Tide senior Houssam Yassine on court five.
Myneni provided Alabama's second point of the match with a big win at No. 1 over 11th-ranked Daescu 6-4, 6-3. From there, No. 84 Beleleu went on to clinch the dual match for the Sooners with a win on court two over Doverspike. The Tide netter took the first set 7-6(7) before falling 7-5, 6-1 in the final two sets. Wrapping up the match at No. 4 was Oklahoma's Pultr who topped Thompson 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4).
"We're young, but we need to grow up really quick because it doesn't get any easier," Pate added. "The good news is we'll have many more situations like this and I'm confident we'll be better. We've likely played the toughest schedule in the country to this point, and it will make us better if we handle it the right way."
Next up, Alabama hosts Pepperdine on Friday, Feb. 26 at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. Match time is slated for noon (CST).
1. Myneni/Davis (UA) def. Pultr/Paval (OU) 8-5
2. Doverspike/Botha (UA) def. Daescu/Boswell (OU) 8-6
3. Formentera/Beleleu (OU) def. Thompson/Chadwell (UA) 8-3
Order of Finish: 3,1,2
1. No. 61 Saketh Myneni (UA) def. No. 11 Andrei Daescu (OU) 6-4, 6-3
2. No. 84 Ionut Beleleu (OU) def. Ricky Doverspike (UA) 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-1
3. No. 80 Costin Paval (OU) def. Jarryd Botha (UA) 6-2, 6-4
4. David Pultr (OU) def. Michael Thompson (UA) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4)
5. Lawrence Formentera (OU) def. Houssam Yassine (UA) 7-6(4), 6-1
6. George Chanturia (OU) def. Ian Chadwell (UA) 6-1, 6-1
Order of Finish: 3,6,5,1,2*,4