It wasn't as easy as it was quick as Oklahoma State moved on to the second round of the NCAA Tennis Championships hosting UMKC for the first round match on Friday at the Greenwood Tennis Center.
STILLWATER -- It took just a little over an hour and a half and you wouldn't know it from the 4-0 final score, but Oklahoma State men's tennis head coach Jay Udwadia was glad to tell the media on the court following the Cowboys 1st round conquest of Missouri-Kansas City that it was more difficult than he was wanting to see it be. The head coach spent a hefty 25 minutes in the locker room with his team following the match, perhaps with a little in Eddie Sutton terms "do better" talk. The former Cowboys legendary basketball coach would do that quite often. Udwadia came out to speak with the media smiling, but you could tell it wasn't all kicks and giggles following the win.
"We didn't get off to a great start and had to catch up a little bit, but we were able to find our rhythm and ended up playing a solid match," Udwadia said standing on the courts of the Greenwood Tennis Center. "We played a lot of good balls, settled into the match and we were able to come out with a good win."
OSU is now 22-6 on the season as they will face Illinois on Saturday at 3 p.m. It will be a fun match-up for the Cowboys as when the bracket was announced team member Lucas Gerch even mentioned they would look forward to facing the Fighting Underwoods, a reference to former OSU basketball coach Brad Underwood bolting to Illinois one day after the Cowboys basketball teams was eliminated from and returned from the NCAA Tournament leaving a lot of OSU fans dumbfounded. Illinois defeated Drake in their first round match on Friday morning 4-0.
As for OSU's 1st round win on Friday, the Cowboys jumped out and grabbed the doubles point but it was anything but easy. Artur Dubinski and Tristan Meraut were the first Cowboys to wrap up their match, as the right-handers swept Tom Kruse and Vihn Pham of UMKC 6-0. The Kangaroos leveled doubles play shortly thereafter when Uldis Gaismins and Amaury Navette defeated Lucas Gerch and Jurence Mendoza, 6-3.
Following the split on courts two and three, doubles came down to Julian Cash and Arjun Kadhe on court one. Cash and Kadhe struggled out of the gate against Airam Castellano and Mike Psarros, falling behind two breaks, 4-1. The All-Americans found their groove, however, and snagged four straight games to take their first lead of the match en route to securing a doubles-clinching win, 7-6 (5).
"I thought UMKC came out and played well in doubles, especially for the first 15 minutes or so," Udwadia said. "We had to play catch up for a bit, but were able to get back into the matches and win it with that tiebreak on court one. Cash and Kadhe were down two breaks, but showed some of their resiliency in their ability to bounce back from that deficit and come out on top."
In the singles matches the Cowboys really never trailed on any court and the only question was which matches would finish first, second, and third to clinch the win and move the Cowboys on to the second round. The answers came on courts three, four, and six adding up the 9th shutout win for the Pokes this season.
Artur Dubinski, the 2017 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, was the first Cowboy to claim victory in singles action, as he defeated Amaury Navette in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. Dubinski's win is his 10th singles triumph since joining Oklahoma State in early February.
OSU's Deutch duo, consisting of Lucas Gerch and Lukas Finzelberg, followed Dubinski's win with straight-set victories of their own.
Finzelberg was the first to conclude his matchup, earning his team-high 19th win of the season after defeating Vihn Pham, 6-3, 6-0, on court six. Finzelberg's 19 wins this season also mark a new career high for the right-hander.
Lucas Gerch finished mere moments after his fellow countrymen, as he dropped UMKC's Tom Kruse, 6-0, 6-3, to secure the Cowboys' spot in the second round. Gerch's win improves him to 18-6 on the year and was his 80th career singles win. The left-hander is the fifth Cowboy in team history to reach the 80-win mark in singles competition.
"We played solid in singles and had our legs underneath us," Udwadia said. "The guys controlled the ball really well today and we were able to play solid and pick up the win."
Oklahoma State is the 11th seed in the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships and the Fightin' Underwoods of Illinois are the 25th seed. Again, the match is at 3 p.m. on Saturday in Stillwater following the Oklahoma State women's 1st round match at noon.
No. 10 Oklahoma State 4, UMKC 0
May 12, 2017 | Stillwater, Okla. | Greenwood Tennis Center
Doubles (Order of finish: 3, 2, 1)
C1: No. 7 Cash/Kadhe (OSU) def. Castellano/Psarros (UMKC), 7-6 (5)
C2: Gaismins/Navette (UMKC) def. Gerch/Mendoza (OSU), 6-3
C3: Dubinski/Meraut (OSU) def. Kruse/Pham (UMKC), 6-0
Singles (Order of finish: 4, 6, 3)
C1: No. 26 Julian Cash (OSU) vs. Airam Castellano (UMKC), 6-4, 4-1, unf.
C2: No. 105 Arjun Kadhe (OSU) vs. Uldis Gaismins (UMKC), 6-4, 4-1, unf.
C3: Lucas Gerch (OSU) def. Tom Kruse (UMKC), 6-0, 6-3
C4: Artur Dubinski (OSU) def. Amaury Navette (UMKC), 6-1, 6-0
C5: Tristan Meraut (OSU) vs. Mike Psarros (UMKC), 6-0, 4-3, unf.
C6: No. 76 Lukas Finzelberg (OSU) def. Vihn Pham (UMKC), 6-3, 6-0