May 8, 2009

Courtesy of Tulsa Athletics

Tulsa, Okla. – The 30th-ranked Tulsa men’s tennis team defeated 38th-ranked TCU, 4-2, in the first round of the NCAA Tennis Championships on Friday evening at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. Top-ranked senior Arnau Brugues sealed the win with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory over 114th-ranked Emanuel Brighiu in No. 1 singles.

The Hurricane (22-9) clinched the crucial doubles point with a thrilling 9-8 (4) victory from Philip Stephens and Ashley Watling over 31st-ranked Emanuel Brighiu and Adrian Simon in the No. 2 position. Tulsa’s 79th-ranked duo of James Seagraves and Alberto Sottocorno lost a tough 8-6 decision to 39th-ranked Slah Mbarek and Kriegler Brink in the No. 1 position, but Marko Ballok and Arnau Brugues defeated Zach Nichols and Christopher Price, 8-4, in the third position to keep the Hurricane alive. Stephens and Watling sealed the doubles point with their win in the No. 2 slot.

“I think this match came down to the No. 2 doubles match,” said Head Coach Vince Westbrook. “The strength of TCU is their doubles and I think Philip and Ashley did a great job hanging on and fighting for the win. I think Phil is one of the best doubles players in country and it showed out there today.”

TCU (12-12) got on the board first in singles with 83rd-ranked Slah Mbarek defeating sophomore Victor Kolik, 6-2, 6-2, in the No. 2 singles position. Senior Alberto Sottocorno responded with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Zach Nichols in the fourth position to give Tulsa the 2-1 lead. Freshman Ashley Watling pushed the lead to 3-1, with a 6-3, 6-1 victory against Christopher Price in the No. 5 position.

The Horned Frogs closed the gap to 3-2 when 78th-ranked Kriegler Brink defeated 99th-ranked junior Philip Stephens, 6-3, 6-3, in No. 3 singles. Shortly after the conclusion of the No. 3 singles match rain pushed through the area causing two delays before the match was moved indoors.

Once indoors, Brugues completed his impressive comeback against Brighiu, winning the match in three sets, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Tulsa will now play sixth-ranked Baylor in the second round after the Bears blew past UMKC, 4-0, in the first match of the day on Friday. The second round match is set for 4:00 p.m. tomorrow at the Case Tennis Center. Tickets prices are $8 for adults and $5 for youth, and can be purchased at the Case Tennis Center.