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We’re still a week away from the Kick-Off Weekend but several lower ranked teams did some kicking tonight as upsets were the story of the day. The biggest upset took place at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center as unranked Tulsa stunned No. 4 Texas 4-3. Tulsa won what turned out to be a pivotal doubles point when it picked up a 6-4 win over at No. 3 and a 6-3 win at No. 2. Texas turned it around in singles by taking four opening sets while Tulsa won the other two in tiebreaks. Harrison Scott and Leo Telles put Texas ahead with quick straight set wins at No. 4 and No. 6 but Or Ram-Harel tied it up at 2-2 after defeating the ITA No. 6 Christian Sigsgaard 7-6(2), 6-2. George Goldhoff put Texas back in front after winning in three sets at No. 3 but Tulsa’s Majed Kilani leveled it at 3-3 with a come from behind 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Texas freshman Yuya Ito at No 2.

The match would be decided at No. 5 between Tulsa junior Mitchell Pritchard and Texas redshirt sophomore Julian Zlobinsky.  Pritchard claimed the opening set in a tiebreak but Zlobinsky took the second 6-4. The third set was on serve through the first four games but Pritchard went ahead 30/40 on Zlobinsky 2-2 service game. Zlobinsky fought off the first break point with a service winner but Pritchard would get the break on the no-ad 40/40 point when Zlobinsky netted a mid-court forehand. Pritchard held easily from 40/15 to make it 4-2 and then he went up 15/40 on Zlobinsky’s serve. Another break would have all but sealed it but Zlobinsky managed to come back and hold after hitting a big serve on the no-ad point. Pritchard held quickly for 5-3 but Zlobinsky did the same for 5-4. With Pritchard serving for the match he’d go up 15/0 off a Zlobinsky forehand error but a forehand error of his own would make it 15-all. Pritchard hit an odd jump hop forehand winner for 30/15 and then Zlobinsky missed badly on a second serve return to make it 40/15. The final point was a fairly lengthy back and forth with the ball barely clearing the net on each shot until finally a Zlobinsky forehand found the net and that was all she wrote. Tulsa’s win over Texas was its first since defeating the Longhorns in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. 

Post-Match Quotes from Tulsa’s recap
“My hats off to Mitch Pritchard, who had to take a year off last year after winning the Cal-Berkeley match for us after having to go into surgery and not being able to play the rest of the year,” said Tulsa Head Coach Vince Westbrook. “He seems to be back and doing what he does best. At the bottom of the lineup, I think he’s one of the toughest guys in the country.”
“If you give the guy [Ram-Harel] a ball anywhere in the mid-court, he’s going to punish you with it,” said Westbrook. “He’s a big, strong guy. As he started pressuring in the tiebreaker, he started to serve better and he started to be able to return and put more balls in the court.”
Tulsa 4, #4 Texas 3
Jan 20, 2017 at Tulsa, Okla. (Michael D. Case Tennis Center)
Singles Competition
1. #46 Or Ram-Harel (TLS 14.19) def. #6 Christian Sigsgaard (TX 14.29) 7-6 (7-2), 6-2
2. Majed Kilani (TLS 13.33) def. #36 Yuya Ito (TX 14.35) 1-6, 7-5, 6-2
3. George Goldhoff (TX 14.02) def. Dominic Bechard (TLS 13.23) 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
4. #47 Harrison Scott (TX 13.83) def. Okkie Kellerman (TLS 12.58) 6-3, 6-2
5. Mitchell Pritchard (TLS 11.90) def. Julian Zlobinsky (TX 13.57) 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4
6. Leo Telles (TX 13.70) def. Daniel Santos (TLS 13.01) 6-0, 6-1
Doubles Competition
1. Okkie Kellerman/Dominic Bechard (TLS) vs. Yuya Ito/Christian Sigsgaard (TX) 6-6, unfinished
2. Or Ram-Harel/Majed Kilani (TLS) def. George Goldhoff/Leo Telles (TX) 6-3
3. Daniel Santos/Jarod Hing (TLS) def. Julian Zlobinsky/Harrison Scott (TX) 6-4
Match Notes:
Texas 3-0
Tulsa 3-1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (4,6,1,3,2,5)
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The highest profile match of the night took place in Evanston as No. 13 Northwestern hosted No. 7 TCU. TCU was expected to return all it’s singles and doubles starters from last year’s squad but due to injuries, attrition, and some recent NCAA rulings it was without Eduardo Nava (hamstring), Trevor Johnson (back), Hudson Blake (left team), Alastair Gray (NCAA), and Felipe Escobar (NCAA).
The doubles point was tightly contested but Northwestern managed to win the big points and pull out a 6-4 win at No. 2 and a point clinching 7-5 win at No. 1. Each team took three opening sets in singles after Konrad Zieba pulled out a first set tiebreak at No. 2. Northwestern’s Jason Seidman made it 2-0 with a quick 6-1, 6-0 win over Gianni Mancini at No. 6. Reese Stalder put the Horned Frogs on the board with a 6-3, 6-4 win over last week’s hero Ben Vandixhorn at No. 5 but Sam Shropshire closed out Jerry Lopez shortly thereafter to put Northwestern a point away from the win.
Cameron Norrie kept TCU in the match with a straight set win over Strong Kirchheimer at No. 1 but Konrad Zieba was putting the pressure on Alex Rybakov at No. 2. Rybakov was serving to stay in the match at 6-7, 4-5 but he quickly found himself in an 0/30 hole after Zieba hit running forehand winners on back-to-back points. Zieba netted a backhand to make it 15/30 but on the next point a Rybakov backhand hit the tape and kicked wide to give Zieba three match points at 15/40. The video clip below will show you how it finished.  
Post-Match Comments from Northwestern’s recap

“Unbelievable team win,” head coach Arvid Swan said. “The guys really stepped up. TCU is one of the best teams in the country. It was a great test for us, and I was really pleased to see our guys raise their level. Great win for us, for sure.”

“We knew we had a good shot,” Zieba said. “We had to come out hot and get that doubles point and then we took the momentum and rode with it.”

Post-Match Comments from TCU’s recap
“All the credit to Northwestern. We knew it was going to take everything we have and Northwestern did a great job defending break points in doubles which turned out to be a huge point. Just like every team in the country, there are spots where we need to improve. We will because we have the best assistant coach in the country and this team will only get better. We will make slight adjustments tomorrow in practice at Tulsa and battle it out Sunday there. It was great seeing our Chicago alumni and Frog supporters come out tonight and cheer us on.”
#13 Northwestern 4, #7 TCU 2
Jan 20, 2017 at Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Singles Competition
1. Cameron Norrie (TCU 14.91) def. #26 Strong Kirchheimer (NU 14.19) 6-4, 6-2
2. Konrad Zieba (NU 14.10) def. Alex Rybakov (TCU 14.55) 7-6 (7-3), 6-4
3. Sam Shropshire (NU 14.12) def. #101 Jerry Lopez (TCU 14.03) 6-2, 6-3
4. Dominik Stary (NU 13.12) vs. #55 Guillermo Nuñez (TCU 14.01) 3-6, 6-4, 1-2, unfinished
5. Reese Stalder (TCU 13.46) def. Ben Vandixhorn (NU 13.18) 6-3, 6-4
6. Jason Seidman (NU 13.06) def. Gianni Mancini (TCU 11.22) 6-1, 6-0
Doubles Competition
1. Sam Shropshire/Konrad Zieba (NU) def. Guillermo Nuñez/Alex Rybakov (TCU) 7-5
2. Strong Kirchheimer/Dominik Stary (NU) def. Reese Stalder/Jerry Lopez (TCU) 6-4
3. Chris Ephron/Michael Lorenzini (NU) vs. Cameron Norrie/Gianni Mancini (TCU) 5-6, unfinished
Match Notes:
TCU 0-1; National ranking #7
Northwestern 2-0; National ranking #13
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (6,5,3,1,2)
Official: John Coleman T-2:24 A-381
The third upset of the night took place in Fayetteville as SMU came back from losing the doubles point to defeat No. 19 Arkansas 4-3. After Arkansas won the doubles point with a tiebreak win at No. 3, SMU really took it to them in singles by taking five opening sets with none of them closer than 6-3. Arkansas fought back in the second set and forced a couple of third sets but with the match on the line SMU’s Ronald Slobodchikov closed out Mike Redlicki 6-3 in the third at No. 1 to give head coach Carl Neufeld his 400th career win. 
Post-Match Quotes from SMU’s recap
“I’m just really excited for the guys,” head coach Carl Neufeld said. “It really was an incredible win and even more exciting that we beat the No. 3 singles player to win it. Out of the 400, this has to be one of the top, definitely in the top ten. The team fought so hard.”

“This was a big win,” Slobodchikov said. “I played really well but I had to fight all the way through. I’m so proud of 400 for coach and I tried my best. We got it together. This win gives us so much confidence. The guys are playing really well and we’re really excited for the rest of the season.”

“It’s hard to put into words what SMU means to me,” Neufeld said. “To come to Dallas and be a part of such a good school, academically and athletically, and to have this much success through the years, it’s incredible. It’s all because of these guys. They’re great players but they’re great guys and hardworking kids. They’re such good examples. They weren’t all-stars when they were recruited. They’ve all developed and for Ronald to win beating No. 3 means even more.”

Post-Match Quotes from Arkansas’s recap
“Hats off to SMU,” head coach Andy Jackson said. “They played tough and did enough to win the team match. I’m pleased with our play in the middle and end of the singles. We were not good enough in the first 30 minutes of the singles and that put us in a bad position. We have to coach and play better in that situation. It took far too long for us to get into the match and SMU converted. We will try to play more of a complete match on Sunday. Finally, I’d like to say how proud of Michael [Redlicki] and Jose [Salazar] I am. We have won so many matches 4-3 with them both winning. We beat both Texas and SMU last year with them both winning. Today it went the other way.”  
SMU 4, #19 Arkansas 3
Jan 20, 2017 at Fayetteville, Ark. (Dills Indoor Tennis Center)
Singles Competition
1. Ronald Slobodchikov (SMU 13.86) def. #3 Mike Redlicki (AR 14.54) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
2. Hunter Johnson (SMU 13.56) def. #19 Jose Salazar (AR 14.33) 6-0, 7-6 (8-6)
3. Samm Butler (SMU 14.11) def. Adam Sanjurjo (AR 13.33) 6-2, 6-3
4. Markus Kerner (SMU 12.86) def. Johan den Toom (AR 12.88) 6-0, 7-5
5. Oscar Mesquida (AR 13.66) def. Arkadijs Slobodkins (SMU 12.84) 3-6, 6-1, 6-0
6. Juan Marino (AR 12.53) def. Tony Russell (SMU 12.53) 6-4, 6-2
Doubles Competition
1. Mike Redlicki/Jose Salazar (AR) def. Samm Butler/Ronald Slobodchikov (SMU) 6-3
2. Arkadijs Slobodkins/Hunter Johnson (SMU) def. Oscar Mesquida/Adam Sanjurjo (AR) 6-3
3. Branch Terrell/Johan den Toom (AR) def. Yates Johnson/Markus Kerner (SMU) 7-6 (7-5)
Match Notes:
SMU 2-1
Arkansas 1-1; National ranking #19
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (4,3,5,6,2,1) 
Other Friday Men’s Results:
  • #6 Georgia defeated state rival Georgia Tech 5-2. The win was Georgia’s 30th in the last 31 matches against Georgia Tech. Georgia freshmen Nathan Ponwith (6-0, 6-1 at #4) and Robert Loeb (6-2, 6-4 at #6) won their dual-match debuts. 
  • #15 Kentucky dropped the doubles point to #25 Duke but the Wildcats managed to sweep the top four singles spots with Nils Ellefsen clinching the 5-2 win at No. 4. Duke was playing without its No. 1 singles player Nicolas Alvarez – Alvarez retired in the first set of a match in Hawaii a few weeks ago and hasn’t played since.
  • #18 Stanford opened up its season with a 4-0 win over Eastern Washington in a match that was played at Stanford’s one-court indoor facility. 
  • Washington rolled over Utah State 6-1 with only one of the singles matches competitive.  
  • #20 Mississippi State and Pepperdine were rained out in Malibu – no make-up will be scheduled. 


Notable Women’s Results

  • #5 Oklahoma State kicked off its season with a pair of 7-0 wins over Oral Roberts and Louisiana Tech.
  • #7 Ohio State opened up its season with a pair of 7-0 win over Wright State and Bowling Green. 
  • #22 Arizona State and Northern Arizona were rained out in Tempe. They will try to play on Saturday. 
  • Kansas opened up its new $9M Jayhawk Tennis Center with a 6-1 win over St. Louis. 
  • Alabama rolled Illinois 6-1 with Maddie Pothoff clinching at No. 5. 
  • #9 Vanderbilt and #12 Miami went 6-2 in singles at the Miami Spring Invite – full results
Former UCLA Bruin Jennifer Brady advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open after defeating the No. 14 seed Elena Vesnina 7-6(4), 6-2. Brady, who played at UCLA from 2013 to 2015, had never won a main draw Grand Slam match before this week but she’s now won three main draw matches in addition to winning three matches in the qualifying rounds. Next up for Brady is 34-year old WTA #79 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. 

Saturday schedule:
VCU Shootout – 4 singles & 1 doubles – counts as a dual-match – Live Scoring for all matches
M: Charlotte vs. Richmond (9 a.m. ET) 
M: Temple vs. Morgan State (11 p.m. ET) 
M: Temple vs. Charlotte (2 p.m. ET) 
M: Morgan State vs. Richmond (4 p.m. ET) 
M: Winthrop vs. Clemson (@ Davidson – 9 a.m. ET) – Clemson Twitter
M: Appalachian State at UNC Wilmington (9:30 a.m. ET) – App St Twitter/UNCW Twitter
M: Georgia Southern at #11 Florida (10 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: Furman at Harvard (10 a.m. ET) – Harvard Twitter/Video $ ILDN
M: George Washington at Drake (10 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: Colorado State-Pueblo at Air Force (11 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: Whitman at Boise State (12 p.m. ET) – Whitman Twitter
M: Ball State at Purdue (12 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: Nebraska-Omaha at Nebraska (1 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: Buffalo at Yale (1 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: Western Michigan at Iowa (1 p.m ET) – Live Scoring/VIdeo
M: UC Riverside at #10 USC (1 p.m. ET) – Video (select University of Southern California)
M: Idaho State at Utah (1 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: UC Santa Cruz at Santa Clara (1 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: Sacramento State at Fresno State (1 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: Old Dominion vs. San Francisco (Harvard – 2 p.m. ET) – ODU Twitter/USF Twitter
M: North Florida vs. St. John’s (Miami – 2 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring or UNF Twitter
M: Penn at Middle Tennessee St (2 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: #16 Texas A&M at Rice (2 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: Kennesaw State at #11 Florida (2 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: UTRGV at #14 Oklahoma State (2 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: Incarnate Word at #22 Baylor (2 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video/Blog
M: Clemson at Davidson – (3 p.m. ET) – Clemson Twitter
M: Loyola Marymount at Pepperdine (4 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: BYU vs. #18 Stanford (Burlingame – 4 p.m. ET) – Stanford Twitter 
M: UC Santa Barbara at #7 UCLA (4 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: Chicago State at Purdue (4:30 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: #12 Oklahoma at #2 Wake Forest (5 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Blog
M: Indiana at Dartmouth (5 p.m. ET) – Dartmouth Twitter/Video $ ILDN 
M: UC Irvine at #10 USC (5 p.m. ET) – Video (select University of Southern California)
M: Weber State at Utah (6 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: Alabama vs. #21 Michigan (Lake Nona, FL – 6 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/ESPN3
M: Northern Illinois at Drake (7 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: UC Davis at Fresno State (7 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: Oral Roberts at #14 Oklahoma State (7 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: Grand Canyon at #22 Baylor (7 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video/Blog
M: Chicago State at Purdue (7 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: Creighton at Iowa (7 p.m ET) – Live Scoring/VIdeo
M: Wichita State at Texas Tech (8 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
M: Abilene Christian at Air Force (8 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
M: Denver at Boise State (8 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Charlotte at Clemson (9 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Furman at Coastal Carolina (9 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Appalachian State at NC State (9 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: Ball State at #2 North Carolina (10 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: West Virginia at PItt (10 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Pitt Twitter
W: Syracuse at Yale (10 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: Air Force at Tennessee (10 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: #16 South Carolina at North Florida (10 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: TCU vs. UTEP (Abilene – 10 a.m. ET) – TCU Twitter
W: Troy at Virginia Tech (10:30 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: UT Arlington at Houston (11 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: VCU at Penn State (11 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Penn State Twitter
W: Western Michigan at Indiana (11 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Boston College at #23 Virginia (11 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: Northern Illinois at Minnesota (11 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: North Texas at #5 Oklahoma State (11 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: South Dakota at Kansas State (11 a.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Harvard at Northwestern (12 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video $
W: Northwestern State at #19 LSU (12 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Wisconsin at Marshall (1 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Samford at #15 Auburn (1 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: Stephen F. Austin at #21 Texas A&M (1 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Montana at Washington State (1 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Charleston Southern at Clemson (2 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: TCU at Abilene Christian (2 p.m. ET) – ACU Twitter/TCU Twitter
W: Northern Colorado at Colorado (3 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: #25 UCLA at Loyola Marymount (3 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Middle Tennessee State at Tennessee (3:30 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: UMKC at Kansas State (4 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Butler at Indiana (4 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: East Tennessee State at Virginia Tech (4 p.m. ET – Live Scoring/Video
W: Washington at Alabama (4 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Eastern Washington at Oregon (4 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: UNC Greensboro at #2 North Carolina (4 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Campbell at NC State (5 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: Southern at #19 LSU (5 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: South Dakota State at Minnesota (6 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring/Video
W: Montana State at Washington State (7 p.m. ET) – Live Scoring
W: Creighton at Iowa (7 p.m ET) – Live Scoring/VIdeo