Austin- No. 12 Texas Men’s Tennis advanced to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 by completing a sweep of the Austin Regional with a 4-0 win over No. 34 LSU on Saturday at the Texas Tennis Center. It marks the eight-straight year the Longhorns have reached the Sweet 16.
Texas secured a thrilling double point by mounting comeback wins at Nos. 3 and 1 and followed with singles victories by sophomore Siem Woldeab at No. 4, junior Chih Chi Huang at No. 6, and sophomore No. 69 Eliot Spizzirri at No. 1.
After doubles, the Longhorns won the first set in all six singles matches, but after LSU rallied on several courts, Woldeab broke the momentum with a 7-5, 6-4 straight-sets win over Gabriel Diaz Freire. In the first two games, Woldeab broke and held for a 2-0 lead, but Diaz Freire set out on a 5-0 run for the lead. However, Woldeab responded with a 5-0 run of his own that included staving off a set point at deuce for Diaz Freier at 5-4, breaking in the next game at deuce for the 6-5 lead and then serving out the set. In the second, it was Diaz Freire who took back-to-back deuce points for a hold and a break and a 2-0 lead. It was then Woldeab who went on a run first, putting together a 4-0 streak. However, this time the rest of the set stayed on serve with Woldeab having a deuce match point while up 5-4, and although that went to Diaz Freier, Woldeab was able to serve out for the win and 2-0 Texas lead.
From there, Texas closed out LSU in a matter of minutes as Huang came off next with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Joao Graca, and Spizzirri clinched with a 7-6 (8), 6-4 victory over No. 29 Ronald Hohmann.
Despite two deuce points that both went Graca’s way at 1-1 and 3-3, the first set stayed on serve all the way to a 5-4 lead for Huang when he was able to break for the set. The second then opened with three-straight deuce points, all of which were won by Graca to establish a 3-0 lead. It was then Huang’s turn for a run as he set out on a 4-0 stretch that included one deuce point for a break at 3-3. Graca got one game back on serve to even it at 4-4, but Huang held and broke to finish the match and extend the Texas lead to 3-0.
That shifted the focus to No. 1 where Spizzirri had taken a first-set tiebreaker against Hohmann. Both players broke the other’s serve to open starting with Hohmann, but after Spizzirri broke back, the rest of the set stayed on serve all the way to the breaker with only once deuce point that was claimed by Spizzirri for a 3-2 lead. It was more back and forth in the tiebreaker as Hohman took leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but after Spizzirri claimed the lead at 3-2, the players alternated points all the way to 7-7. Hohmann finally ended that pattern with two straight for an 8-7 lead, but then Spizzirri closed with three straight for the win. In the second, Hohmann pushed out to a 2-0 lead with a hold and a deuce-point break, but Spizzirri answered the break, held at deuce and broke again for a 3-2 lead. Once again, Spizzirri’s serve went to deuce as did Hohmann’s, and both players broke the other to leave Spizzirri up 4-3 before he was able to hold for 5-3. The last two games then stayed on serve to give both Spizzirri and Texas their wins.
In the remaining matches, freshman No. 34 Pierre-Yves Bailly trailed Vlad Lobak, 6-3, 1-6, 1-3 at No. 2, senior No. 92 Richard Ciamarra trailed Kent Hunter, 7-5, 2-6, 1-2 at No. 3, and sophomore Cleeve Harper was leading Boris Kozlov, 6-1, 4-6, 2-1 at No. 5 when play stopped.
Earlier in doubles, the Longhorns found themselves down on all three courts, but rallied at Nos. 3 and 1 to clinch the point.
With LSU having taken the match at No. 2, the pair of Huang and sophomore Eshan Talluri secured the first win for Texas with a 7-5 victory over Ben Koch and Nick Watson at No. 3. The Tigers picked up the first break of the match for a 3-1 lead, but the Longhorns got it right back and then held to even it. The next four games stayed on serve until Huang and Talluri broke again for a 6-5 lead and served out for the win.
That left the deciding match at No. 1 where the No. 8 duo of Spizzirri and Woldeab rallied for a 6-4 win over Lobak and Hohmann. The Tigers were first to break in that match also, doing so for a 2-1 lead that they extended to 3-1 with a deuce point on serve after having also won their first serve at deuce. The next three games were also on serve with Texas holding at deuce for 4-3 before getting the break they needed on another deuce to get back on serve and even it. After holding for 5-4, Spizzirri and Woldeab struck again with another break to take the match and give the Longhorns a 1-0 overall lead.
In the remaining match the No. 4 pair of Ciamarra and Harper got off to a slow start against Hunter and Diaz Freire with LSU jumping out to a 4-0 lead with two breaks. The Longhorns rallied with a 3-0 run that they capped with a deuce-point hold, but the rest of the match stayed on serve to the win for the Tigers.
Texas will next head to Ann Arbor to face 5 seed No. 5 Michigan on either Saturday, May 14, or Sunday, May 15.
#12 Texas 4, #34 LSU 0
Singles – Order of Finish (4,6,1)
1. #69 Eliot Spizzirri (UT) def. #29 Ronald Hohmann (LSU) 7-6 (8), 6-4
2. #34 Pierre-Yves Bailly (UT) vs. Vlad Lobak (LSU) 6-3, 1-6, 1-3, unf.
3. #92 Richard Ciamarra (UT) vs. Kent Hunter (LSU) 7-5, 2-6, 1-2, unf.
4. Siem Woldeab (UT) def. Gabriel Diaz Freire (LSU) 7-5, 6-4
5. Cleeve Harper (UT) vs. Boris Kozlov (LSU) 6-1, 4-6, 2-1, unf.
6. Chih Chi Huang (UT) def. João Graca (LSU) 6-4, 6-4
Doubles – Order of Finish (2,3,1)
1. #8 Eliot Spizzirri/Siem Woldeab (UT) def. Vlad Lobak/Ronald Hohmann (LSU) 6-4
2. Kent Hunter/Gabriel Diaz Freire (LSU) def. #4 Richard Ciamarra/Cleeve Harper (UT) 6-4
3. Chih Chi Huang/Eshan Talluri (UT) def. Ben Koch/Nick Watson (LSU) 7-5