The Norman Transcript

Sports

April 28, 2013

Sooner men to play for Big 12 title

NORMAN — The crowd was enthusiastic and reasonably good Saturday afternoon at Oklahoma’s Headington Family Tennis Center, where Oklahoma crushed Texas 4-1 and Baylor easily took care of TCU 4-1 in a pair of Big 12 men’s semifinal duals. Perhaps it will be yet bigger at 1 p.m. today, when the Sooners and Bears meet for Big 12 supremacy.

It’s not the Red River rivalry, but it is the conference’s two established heavyweights. Baylor has been one of the nation’s best tennis programs for some time now and the Sooners continue moving forward under fourth-year coach John Roddick.

A year ago, OU stopped Baylor in College Station to win its first Big 12 tennis title and today will mark the third straight season it’s been Sooners and Bears in the final.

“It’s going to be a tough match,” said Roddick, who was his brother Andy’s personal coach during the three years prior to his arrival in Norman. “It’s two good, talented teams.”

No. 14 OU and No. 13 Baylor have met once this season, April 12, in Waco. In that dual, only Sooner senior No. 1-man Costin Paval, the nation’s 19th-ranked player, returned home with a victory.

“I think we have a lot better idea of how to play them than we did before,” Roddick said. “They have a lot of new guys that we hadn’t seen. It’s going to be a good match. Hopefully, the home courts will help us a little bit.”

How the Sooners played Saturday might help them more.

They lost the doubles point, but stormed out of the gate when the singles began.

“Whatever momentum we had just went away so quickly in the singles, “ Texas coach Michael Center said. “We didn’t get any first sets … They just really whipped us after that, to be honest.”

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