No. 9 TTU men's tennis focuses on big weekend - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

No. 9 TTU men's tennis focuses on big weekend

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

The No. 9 Texas Tech men's tennis team concludes the regular season when the Red Raiders play host to No. 19 Texas on Friday 6 p.m. CT followed by No. 4 TCU Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.

The Red Raiders (24-4, 2-1 Big 12) will be playing their fourth and fifth straight matches against ITA Top 20 opponents and have already set the program's regular season win record at 24. Tech has the opportunity to clinch a share of the Big 12 regular season title and eclipse the program's overall single season win total with two victories. The 2005 team turned in a 25-4 record and made the program's lone appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.

Admission is free to both matches at the McLeod Tennis Center with free pizza while supplies last. Leading into Friday's match, the first 50 fans will receive a pair of sunglasses. Fans also can pick up their raffle ticket at the marketing table to be eligible to win a signed Texas Tech football helmet by head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Addition raffle prizes include pregame sideline passes to next season's home football opener against Stephen F. Austin and Texas Tech tennis gear.

Sunday's match will serve as Senior Day for Hugo Dojas, Evan Nix and Felipe Soares. All three families will be in attendance which include the Dojas' and Soares' traveling from Brazil. It also marks the official Kids Club Day at Texas Tech tennis where inflatables will be set up and a second raffle drawing will be held. Fans must be present at the match to win all raffle prizes on both days.

"There's no doubt that it will be a memorable moment for Felipe, Hugo and Evan," Texas Tech head coach Brett Masi said. "You always remember your Senior Day and the last time you get to play in front of your home crowd. All of their families and important people in their life are going to be there. When you're not a senior, you're always playing for your seniors. Those three have contributed so much to our program, and we're hoping to send them out on the right note."

Last time out, Texas Tech turned in its most complete performance of the season with a 4-1 triumph over then No. 8 Oklahoma on Sunday. The Red Raiders snapped OU's 13-match Big 12 winning streak which dated back to the 2011 season.

Texas Tech has won all 11 of its home matches and has dialed up a combined 51-15 singles record from the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 positions. Bjorn Thomson paces the Red Raiders with 19 dual-match victories and is the only player to win all three of his Big 12 singles outings. He has secured a sparking 13-1 mark on the No. 6 singles line. Jolan Cailleau ended his season's long three-match losing streak and put the finishing touches on the OU victory with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over then No. 46 Alex Ghilea.

The Red Raiders have a trio of ranked singles players sparked by Soaras at No. 20 and Dojas at No. 110. Soares has met four consecutive Top 60 opponents and grinded out a 6-3, 6-4 battle versus then No. 23 Axel Alvarez Llamas of Oklahoma on Sunday. Alex Sendegeya has posted wins in five of his last seven decisions since March 19.

"First of all if we are able to compete at the level we did against Oklahoma, I feel like we will have a good shot at winning our matches this weekend against very talented Texas and TCU teams," Masi said. "You have to take things one step at a time. Texas is always a big match because of the history of their program. The guys have their eyes set on the highest goal, and that's to win a share of the Big 12 regular season title. I think they're hungry for it. We came together after the Oklahoma State loss and said that we need to push ourselves a little bit more mentally than physically. We needed to have a different persona when we're on the court, and we accomplished that. We need to carry that mentality forward when we play in front of our home crowd this weekend."

Texas (17-9, 1-3 Big 12) has dropped three of its four Big 12 matchups but battled No. 4 TCU to a 4-2 decision last Saturday. The Longhorns are led by Michael Riechmann with 14 dual match victories. Adrian Ortiz has won nine of his 12 matches at the No. 3 position whereas Julian Zlobinsky has tallied an 8-3 mark from the No. 6 spot.

The Horned Frogs (22-2, 4-0 Big 12) have reeled off 17 consecutive victories after being handed a 4-1 setback to then No. 1 Virginia on Feb. 14. TCU has already captured a share of the Big 12 regular season championship with a sweep of No. 43 Baylor on Wednesday. The Frogs are sparked by Cameron Norrie and Alex Rybakov, who check in at No. 5 and No. 24 in this week's ITA singles rankings. The duo has combined for a 28-7 mark from the No. 1 and No. 2 singles slots.

"These are the types of matches that we are going to face when we get to the Big 12 Tournament next week and the NCAA Tournament in May," Masi said. "It's about getting the players to be able to play at their highest level at the right time. This is the best way to prepare ourselves for those big pressure moments down the road. If we're not able to come away with the Big 12 regular season or tournament title, there are valuable lessons that we can learn to be ready when we get to the NCAA's."

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