April 19, 2014
The Rice men's tennis team saw their hopes for an upset of top-seeded Tulsa dashed as the Golden Hurricane fought of an early challenge in doubles to post a 4-0 win at the Case Tennis Center in Tulsa on Saturday.
With the win, Tulsa (14-12) moved on to Sunday's championship match against second-seeded Tulane, who reach the finals with a 4-0 win over East Carolina. Rice ended the season with a 10-13 record.
"We had our chances early in doubles but we didn't take advantage of some of the opportunities Tulsa gave us," Rice head coach Efe Ustundag said. "We had some early chances at breaks but could not convert. Tulsa is a very deep and talented team and you can't afford to not take advantage of the breaks that come your way. I thought we had a good chance at three, and we were in a tiebreak there but what hurt was we did not play as well as I thought we could on two. Going in, I felt like we had a chance to get the doubles point with our teams on two and three, and that would have made things a little more interesting in singles."
After Tulsa grabbed the doubles point, Rice saw some early success in singles on the first line, where Srikar Alla raced to a first set win over Japie De Klerk, but the Golden Hurricane senior responded to take the second set 6-0. The pair were battling in the decisive third set when the match was clinched.
Rice also picked up a first set win on court four where freshman David Warren won a tiebreak. Fellow freshman Max Andrews rebounded from a first set loss on court three to hold a lead in the second set when the match ended.
Tulsa picked up the clinching point with straight set wins on courts two, five and six.
"I knew going in that Adam Gustafsson had a very tough matchup on two, and Tulsa's players at five and six were very strong today. Tulsa was the stronger team and very deserving of their status as the top seed."
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