At No. 3, OU’s Axel Alvarez Llamas was dominant, knocking off Texas’ Daniel Whitehead 6-2, 6-0.
Whitehead and Llamas were playing beside the No. 1 match, contested by Paval and Soren Hess-Olesen, who were playing long deuce-filled games, frequently disagreeing whether balls were in or out and, generally, putting on the best show on any of the six courts. Meanwhile, Llamas was a machine, routing Whitehead.
His teammates weren’t bad either, with Guillermo Alcorta winning the No. 2 match over Lloyd Glasspool 6-2, 6-2, Leonard Stakhovsky winning the No. 5 match over Sudanwa Sitaram 6-1, 6-4 and Dane Webb winning the No. 4 match over Nick Naumann 6-4, 6-4.
After Webb’s match went final, the dual was called, with OU No. 6-man Nick Papic up a set but down 4-5 in the second to Ben Chen, and Paval and Hess-Olesen deadlocked 2-2 in the final set after splitting the first two.
The crowd would have loved to have seen Paval and Hess-Olesen finish. Paval played the match on an emotional edge after being docked the opening point of the first set’s third game by the chair umpire, who didn’t care for Paval’s changeover outburst, one fueled by a crucial call that didn’t go his way in a prior game. Paval responded by winning five straight games to take the set.
Finally, when the match was halted, Paval and Hess-Olesen, after shaking hands, were jawing at each other until their coaches got them settled down.
The final may not bring that kind of emotion, but it ought to offer some fine tennis.
“We think our guys are playing well. We feel like we’re pretty balanced this year. We don’t feel we have a team that one guy really has to win,” Baylor coach Matt Knoll said. “We feel like we have seven points out there and it is just a matter of staying focused and fighting for every point.”