Men’s tennis No. 12 advances to NCAA Round of 16

Austin- The Texas Men’s Tennis No. 12 advanced to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 by completing an Austin-area sweep with a 4-0 win over No. 34 LSU on Saturday at the Texas Tennis Center. This marks the eighth straight year the Longhorns have reached the Sweet 16.

Texas secured a thrilling doubles point with comeback wins at No. 3 and 1 and followed it up with singles wins by sophomore Siem Woldeab at No. 4, Junior Chih Chi Huang at No. 6 and at second No. 69 Eliot Spizirri at No. 1.

After the doubles, the Longhorns won the first set of six singles matches, but after LSU rallied on multiple 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 a 2-0 lead, but Diaz Freire went into a 5-0 race for the lead. However, Woldeab responded with his own 5-0 run which included avoiding a set point at two for Diaz Freier at 5-4, breaking the following game at two for the 6-5 lead and then to serve the set. In the second, it was Diaz Freire who took two straight points for a catch and a break and took a 2-0 lead. It was then Woldeab who started their run first, going on a 4-0 streak. However, this time the rest of the set remained on serve, with Woldeab having match point tied at 5-4, and although it went to Diaz Freier, Woldeab was able to serve for the win and lead Texas 2-0. .

From there, Texas closed out LSU within minutes as Huang came out next with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Joao Graca, and Spizzirri clinched with a 7-6(8), 6-4 win. on No. 29 Ronald Hohmann.

Despite two points which both benefited Graca at 1-1 and 3-3, the first set stayed on serve until a 5-4 lead for Huang when he was able to break for the set. The second then started with three straight points, all of which were won by Graca to establish a 3-0 lead. It was then Huang’s turn to run as he went on a 4-0 streak that included a two point for a break at 3-3. Graca recovered a serve game to tie it at 4-4, but Huang held and broke to end the game and extend Texas’ lead to 3-0.

This shifted the focus to No. 1 where Spizzirri had taken a first-set tiebreaker against Hohmann. Both players broke each other’s serve to open starting with Hohmann, but after Spizzirri’s break the rest of the set remained on serve until the breaker with a single point two which was claimed by Spizzirri for a lead 3-2. It was more back and forth in the tiebreaker as Hohman took a 1-0 and 2-1 lead, but after Spizzirri took the lead at 3-2 the players alternated points until at 7-7. Hohmann eventually ended that pattern with two straight for an 8-7 lead, but Spizzirri then closed with three straight for the win. In the second, Hohmann took a 2-0 lead with a hold and a two-point break, but Spizzirri answered the break, held at two 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 let Spizzirri lead 4-3 before he could hold 5-3. The final two games then stayed on serve to give Spizzirri and Texas their wins.

In remaining matches, No. 34 rookie 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 on all three courts, but rallied at numbers 3 and 1 to clinch the point.

With LSU having won the game at No. 2, the pair of Huang and sophomore Eshan Talluri earned Texas’ first victory with a 7-5 victory over Ben Koch and Nick Watson at No. 3. The Tigers took the first break of the game for a 3-1 lead, but the Longhorns clawed it back and then held to tie it. The next four games stayed on serve until Huang and Talluri broke again for a 6-5 lead and served for the win.

That left the deciding game 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 also the first to break in that game, doing so for a 2-1 lead which they extended to 3-1 with a two-point serve after also winning their first two-serve. The next three games were also on serves, with Texas holding at two for 4-3 before getting the break they needed on another two to regain serve and tie the game. After holding 5-4, Spizzirri and Woldeab struck again with another break to win the match and give the Longhorns a 1-0 lead on aggregate.

In the remaining game, the No. 4 pair of Ciamarra and Harper got off to a slow start against Hunter and Diaz Freire, with LSU taking a 4-0 lead with two breaks. The Longhorns rallied with a 3-0 run which they capped with a two-run grab, but the rest of the game lay on serve for the Tigers victory.

Texas then travels to Ann Arbor to face 5th seeded No. 5 Michigan on Saturday, May 14 or Sunday, May 15.

#12 Texas 4, #34 LSU 0

Singles – Order of finish (4,6,1)
1. #69 Eliot Spizirri (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. Joao Graca (LSU) 6-4, 6-4

Doubles – Order of arrival (2,3,1)
1. #8 Eliot Spizirri/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

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