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April 28, 2014

Marathon game like life itself

FORT WORTH, Texas — You know all those T-shirts and sweatshirts that proclaim the wearer’s sport of choice “ … is life.”

They’re harmless. And the wearer always means well, because football or basketball or lacrosse or horseshoes, to the right enthusiast, really is life.

But they’re wrong.

All of them.

You know what life is?

Life is the 10th game of the third set of the last singles match Sunday afternoon at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center, not far from TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium, where the Big 12 men’s tennis championship was decided by OU’s Axel Alvarez and Baylor’s Patrick Pradella.

Yes, there were three doubles sets before the singles began and, yes, five other Sooners and five other Bears also took to the singles courts, but it was still all about Alvarez and Pradella.

How it got that way was a good story, though. 

For starters, Baylor won the doubles point, claiming two of the three pro sets, and taking a 1-0 lead, just as it had two years ago, when the Sooners lost the doubles point to the Bears and still came back to claim the first of two straight conference tourney championships.

“We talked about not winning the doubles point in the locker room,” said Norman’s own Nick Papic, who plays No. 3 doubles for the Sooners along with Peerakit Siributwong. “We were talking about two years ago.”

And it looked like it was going to be a repeat, because about 90 minutes after the six singles matches began, OU had already received victories at, in order, Nos. 4, 1 and 6, from Dane Webb, Guillermo Alcorta and Alex Ghilea. 

“I think we played about as well as we could have in singles in the first two-thirds of that (dual),” OU coach John Roddock said.

Yet, after Baylor’s Michael Dornbusch topped OU’s Austin Siegel at No. 5, and Diego Galeano stopped Andrew Harris at No. 3, it left everything to Alvarez and Pradella.

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