March 29, 2013
Adam Gustafsson upset the 35th ranked player in the country and fellow freshman Tommy Bennett breezed to a straight set win, but the 24th ranked Tulsa Golden Hurricane was able to fend off Rice's strong comeback in singles to take a 5-2 win at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa on Friday.
Gutafsson downs Tulsa's Jaipe De Klerk 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, snapping the TU junior's eight-match winning streak to register his first career win over a top 40 opponent.
The Owls (8-10) found themselves down 1-0 after doubles, but they attacked the courts in singles and left the outcome in doubt until nearly four hours later.
"We took three first sets in singles and Adam shook off his loss in the first set to play a great match," Owls head coach Efe Ustundag said. "We had a number of moments where we were in position to take control, but we never got over the top. We just needed one more comeback from someone to get the victory over a highly-ranked opponent."
After Tulsa took a 2-0 lead with a win on court 5, Bennett put Rice on the scoreboard with a swift 6-0, 6-2 win over Grant Ive to run his season record to 10-6. Philipp Seifert and Guztavo Gonzalez also captured first sets in singles and when Gustafsson stormed back from a first set loss to Tulsa's Japie De Klerk to take the second, the Owls appeared to have an upset within their grasp.
After a win on court 1 pushed the Tulsa lead to 3-1, Seifert could not hold off the charge of Alejandro Espejo, who clinched the match for TU.
Gonzalez, who had won the first set on court 6 in a tiebreaker over Tristan Jackson, fought off multiple match points from Jackson in the third set to get a late break and force a second tiebreak set. The two players battled even through 16 points, before Jackson scored an 10-8 win.
Gustafsson was down a break in the third set before breaking back and capturing the day's final point with a 7-5 win in the third set.
The Owls will wrap up their weekend road trip on Sunday, when they face the 11th ranked Oklahoma Sooners in Norman.