Austin – The No. 6 Texas Men’s Tennis team opened its 2021 dual match season with a 7-0 sweep of Louisiana at the Texas Tennis Center on Friday.
The Longhorns won all six singles matches on the day with four in straight sets and two that ended in third-set superbreakers. After Texas took the doubles point earlier to establish a 1-0 lead, sophomore No. 57 Siem Woldeab quickly moved the lead to 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Alejandro Sanchez Gonzalez at No. 1 singles. After each player held serve in the first two games, Woldeab went on a 4-0 run that was only snapped by a deuce point to give him a 4-2 edge. He won the final two games of the first set and the first three of the second before Sanchez Gonzalez could answer, but from there Woldeab closed it out on a 3-0 run.
Sophomore Evin McDonald was not far behind Woldeab as he posted a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Alejo Ferrer Chueca at No. 6 singles. The first set stayed on serve up to McDonald establishing a 4-3 lead when he picked up a break and closed out the set on serve. The second set was even more decisive, as after the players split the first two games, McDonald finished the match on a 5-0 run for a 3-0 Texas lead.
The next two matches had similar scores and also finished at nearly the same time with sophomore Cleeve Harper grabbing his match against Kacper Dworak, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 4 for the clincher, just before junior Chih Chi Huang could take his against Oriol Fillat Gimenez, 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5. Harper found himself trailing 3-0 early, but was able to flip the switch and posted a 6-0 run to rally and take the first set. Dworak won the first game of the second set on serve, but once again Harper answered with a run, this time 3-0. Dworak recovered to tie the set, 3-3, but Harper regained the lead and extended to 5-3 before closing the match at 6-4.
Huang also trailed early in his first set at 3-1, but was able to tie it at 3-3 before Fillat Gimenez retook the lead at 4-3. From there, Huang captured five straight games to close the first set and establish a 2-0 lead in the second. The next four games alternated up to a 4-2 edge for Huang before he pushed it to 5-2 en route to the 6-3 win.
Much in the way the first two finishing matches mirrored each other and then the third and fourth did, the fifth and sixth did as well, as they both ended in third-set superbreakers. Freshman No. 78 Micah Braswell earned his first dual match singles win as a Longhorn with a 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 (6) victory over Karlo Kajin at No. 3 just before sophomore No. 120 Eliot Spizzirri recovered from a defeat in his first-set tiebreaker at No. 2 to down Ivailo Keremedchiev, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 1-0 (8).
Braswell opened his match with a break in the first game and then held for a 2-0 lead. Two games later, Kajin answered the break and then held for a 3-2 advantage. Braswell then took the lead back at 4-3 before it alternated again back to Kajin at 5-4. From there, Braswell secured the next four games for a 7-5 win in the frame and a 1-0 lead in the second. However Kajin was able to answer with a 4-0 run of his own to establish a three-game lead that he maintained to the end of the set. In the superbreaker, Braswell jumped out early with the first four points. Kajin twice got back within two at 5-3 and 8-6, but Braswell finished it from there for a 6-0 Texas lead.
Spizzirri closed his match just after that in his superbreaker. After falling 7-5 in a first-set tiebreaker, he and Keremedchiev played another close second set, but this time Spizzirri was able to pull out the 7-5 win. In the final frame, Keremedchiev got out of the gate with a 3-0 lead, but Spizzirri then went on a tear with a 7-0 run for a four-point lead. Keremedchiev made one more push to tie it at 8-8, but the final two points were Spizzirri’s for the win.
Earlier in doubles, Harper and Huang won their final three games at No. 2 for a 6-3 victory over Kajin and Xandy Hammitt, while Braswell and sophomore Jacob Bullard won their first three over Fillat Gimenez and Sanchez Gonzalez and maintained that for a matching 6-3 win at No. 3. Louisiana picked up their lone win of the day at No. 1 where Kacper and Keremedchiev downed Spizzirri and Woldeab, 6-4, but Texas had already earned the doubles point.
The Longhorns turn around and are back on the courts on Saturday at 12 p.m. CT with another home match against SMU. Due to health and safety protocols, unfortunately fans are unable to attend home match at this point.
No. 6 Texas 7, Louisiana 0
Singles – Order of Finish (1,6,4,5,3,2)
1. #57 Siem Woldeab (UT) def. Alejandro Sanchez Gonzalez (LA) 6-2, 6-1
2. #120 Eliot Spizzirri (UT) def. Ivailo Keremedchiev (LA) 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 1-0 (10-8)
3. #78 Micah Braswell (UT) def. Karlo Kajin (LA) 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 (10-6)
4. Cleeve Harper (UT) def. Kacper Dworak (LA) 6-3, 6-4
5. Chih Chi Huang (UT) def. Oriol Fillat Gimenez (LA) 6-4, 6-3
6. Evin McDonald (UT) def. Alejo Ferrer Chueca (LA) 6-3, 6-1
Doubles – Order of Finish (2,3,1)
1. Kacper Dworak/ Ivailo Keremedchiev (LA) def. Eliot Spizzirri/Siem Woldeab (UT) 6-4
2. Cleeve Harper/Chih Chi Huang (UT) def. Xandy Hammitt/Karlo Kajin (LA) 6-3
3. Micah Braswell/Jacob Bullard (UT) def. Oriol Fillat Gimenez/ Alejandro Sanchez Gonzalez (LA) 6-3