The 48th nationally-ranked singles player, Or Ram-Harel of The University of Tulsa, defeated Northwestern's 20th-ranked singles player Konrad Zieba, 6-2, 6-4, to advance to the second round of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Singles Championship at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. Ram-Harel will take on Joao Monteiro of Virginia Tech on Thursday, May 26, at 11:30 a.m.
"It's a good feeling to start the tournament with a win," Ram-Harel said. "I came today to the tournament with the idea that I am not only playing for me, but I am playing for the team and the City of Tulsa. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the doubles or the teams tournament so I felt it was important to show up ready today."
Ram-Harel improved his overall career singles record to 32-31, and he is now 1-1 in his career in the NCAA Singles Championships.
To begin the first set, Zieba took an early 1-0 lead. Ram-Harel went on to win two out of the next three points to tie the match score at 2-2. Ram-Harel broke Zieba's serve at 2-2 to take a 3-2 lead and following that point he held serve to extend the lead to 4-2. With momentum on his side, Ram-Harel went on to win back-to-back points to win the first set 6-2 taking a 1-0 match advantage going into the second set.
In the second set, both players held their serve through the first four points to make the score 2-2. Ram-Harel broke Zieba's serve at 2-2 again in the second set to take a 3-2 lead, and he went on to hold his next serve to take a 4-2 lead in the set. Both players held their next two serves to bring the final set score to 6-4 and the final match score to 2-0.
When asked about what he takes from today moving forward Ram-Harel said, "Playing more offensive, and I have improved in that a lot. Also just to keep believing in myself and to keep fighting for every point."