Tahlequah Daily Press

OU Sports

April 29, 2013

OU men win Big 12 tennis title

(Continued)

Hometown twist

The No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches split, leaving the doubles point on the rackets of OU’s Nick Papak and Larry Formentara.

A bit of a college tennis oddity, neither is foreign born. Formentara is Temecula, Calif., and Papak is from, no kidding, Norman.

A regular at Westwood Tennis Center before moving to Fresno, Calif., after the eighth grade, Papak spent a year at Fresno State before transferring back to his hometown and redshirting last season.

He and Formentara were playing Baylor’s Tony Lupieri and Lenz. Deadlocked 7-7, they played a tiebreaker few will forget. The Sooners trailed 5-1. Then everything turned around.

First, OU won a second point. Next, Lenz thought he’d served an ace to make it 6-2 but the Sooners called it wide. The Bears appealed to the umpire, who appealed to the linesman, who called it wide. Lenz followed with consecutive double faults, making it 5-4. Then Papak delivered an ace the Bears called wide but the umpire overruled, making it 5-5.

Then Lenz hit a return in the net. Then the Bears saved match point. Then Lupieri double faulted. Then Formentara delivered a first serve, the Bears returned it and Papak put away the volley.

OU had the doubles point.

“We just tried to stay in there mentally. Anything can happen in a tiebreaker,” Papak said. “We didn’t really think about being down 5-1. Just (play) one point at a time and see what happens.”

What happened was OU won 7 of 8 points to go from nowhere to victory.

Victory’s glow

Alvarez Llamas, 10 minutes after it ended, failed at playing it cool.

“It’s my freshman year. It was the biggest crowd we’ve had the whole year,” he said. “I can’t believe it. Right now, I can’t breathe, I’m so happy.”

It may have had still more meaning for Papak, who earned another point for his team by stopping Baylor’s Roberto Maytin 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in the No. 6 singles match.

“You come to OU to do this,” he said. “It’s hard to put into words. It’s everything we’ve worked for the entire year.”

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