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OU men's tennis: Sooners sweep Incarnate Word, 7-0, in home opener

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Mark Mandlik and Jake Van Emburgh

Then-freshman Mark Mandlik and then-junior Jake Van Emburgh during a doubles match against San Diego on Feb. 9, 2020.

The Sooners (1-0) got off to a great start to the spring 2021 season, beating Incarnate Word (0-1), 7-0, Wednesday in Norman.

Oklahoma looked strong, never dropping a single set in play. The doubles teams got the scoring started off with a 6-0 sweep from sophomore Mark Mandlik and freshman Welsh Hotard over Warren Fulgenzi and Marko Galic.

Graduate transfer Jonathan Sheehy and sophomore Alex Martinez won their match, 6-3, over Omar El Kadi and Joao Sasso, to give the Sooners the doubles point and a 1-0 lead. Seniors Jake Van Emburgh and Max Stewart finished off doubles play, winning 6-3 over Arnau Miralles and Marwin Kralemann.

In singles play, Mandlik got the Sooners started early, winning his match in two sets, 6-3 and 6-2 over Luka Stojanovic. Junior Mason Beiler — ranked No. 69 in the country for college single players — continued to show his stardom, winning his match in two sets, both with scores of 6-1, over El Kadi.

“(Beiler) came out and dominated early, got a big lead, and kept the lead,” OU head coach Nick Crowell said afterward. “And that’s important, just to stay focused and not drop off in the second set after he won the first one 6-1, and he was able to finish off his guy.”

Van Emburgh then gave the Sooners the 4-0 lead with his 6-3 and 6-2 win over Kralemann. Martinez won his match over Miralles, taking both sets by scores of 6-3 and giving the Sooners a 5-0 lead.

Stewart would make the advantage 6-0 with his dominating performance, winning by scores of 6-1 and 6-0 over Galic. Sheehy would finish off the sweep, making two comebacks while down 2-1 in both sets to win 6-2 and 6-3 over Fulgenzi, and give the Sooners the season-opening victory.

The Sooners did not seem affected by the limited crowd. Due to COVID-19, only those on a pass list were allowed inside the Headington Family Tennis Center for the matches, yet OU seemed unfazed by sparse support.

“We love having fans and having huge crowds,” Crowell said. “We appreciate everyone who came out, and they were loud. We were just happy to play.”

Next, the Sooners will travel to Knoxville to play Tennessee at 9 a.m. Saturday.

“We will look back at the video tonight and get back to work early in the morning before leaving tomorrow afternoon,” Crowell said. “Definitely a few things to clean up before Saturday.”

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