The No. 14 Texas A&M men’s tennis team rallied for four singles wins to beat No. 29 Oklahoma State, 4-3, in Big 12 Conference play on Sunday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. The OSU home match was originally scheduled for Stillwater, but was moved due to inclement weather.
It was the Aggies’ first-ever win over Oklahoma State for third-year Aggie head coach Steve Denton, and it improved A&M’s overall record to 10-5 and moved the Aggies’ Big 12 worksheet to 2-0. OSU fell to 7-5 overall and 0-2 against Big 12 opponents.
“It was a hard-fought match,” Denton said. “They smoked us in doubles, and for us to come out and win four singles matches against some very good players is a credit to the guys.”
The Aggies were swept in doubles to drop the doubles point, but came out inspired in singles and won four of six first sets. The Aggies received the first three singles victories from sophomore Wil Spencer at No. 3, sophomore Alexey Grigorov at No. 4 and freshman Colin Hoover at No. 6, which set up the “last match standing” heroics for sophomore Austin Krajicek. Spencer defeated OSU’s Mikhail Trukshanin, 6-0, 6-4; Grigorov knocked off Aleksey Bessonov, 6-3, 6-2; and Hoover beat Igor Sobolta, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.
With the team score knotted at 3-3, Krajicek found himself down 3-5 and 30-love in the third set, but he buckled down to break OSU’s Nathan Byrnes’ serve and went on to force a tiebreaker. Krajicek prevailed in the tiebreaker for a hard-fought 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 match-clincher. “Austin was in a hole, but he really stepped up and raised his level of play to force the tiebreaker,” Denton said. “Austin came through when he had to. That’s the mark of a great player – being able to raise your level of play when there is the most pressure.”
The Aggies return to College Station for a two-match homestand against No. 35 Tulsa on Wednesday, April 1 at 3 p.m. and No. 32 Texas Tech on Friday at 6 p.m. Wednesday’s match against Tulsa was originally set for 1 p.m.
“Tulsa will be a very tough opponent for us,” Denton said. “They’re not ranked high right now, but they beat a Louisville team that beat us, so we know what they’re capable of. They have one of the top two or three players in the country (current No. 1 Arnau Brugues), so that will be a great challenge for Conor Pollock. I expect a really good college match.
(14) TEXAS A&M 4, (29) OKLAHOMA STATE 3
March 29, 2009
Michael D. Case Tennis Center
at Tulsa, Okla.
No. 1 – (2) Oleksandr Nedovyes (OSU) def. (16) Conor Pollock (Texas A&M), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6
No. 2 – (52) Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M) def. Nathan Byrnes (OSU), 6-4, 6-7, 7-6.
No. 3 – (30) Wil Spencer (Texas A&M) def. Mikhail Trukshanin (OSU), 6-0, 6-4.
No. 4 – Alexey Grigorov (Texas A&M) def. Aleksey Bessonov (OSU), 6-3, 6-2.
No. 5 – Anton Bobytski (OSU) def. Marcus Lunt (Texas A&M), 6-1, 6-4.
No. 6 – Colin Hoover (Texas A&M) def. Igor Sobolta (OSU), 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.
DOUBLES (OSU wins the doubles point)
No. 1 – (19) Nedovyesov/Byrnes (OSU) def. (3) Krajicek-Pollock (Texas A&M), 8-3.
No. 2 – Bobytskyi/Trukshanin (OSU) def. Grigorov-Hoover (Texas A&M), 8-5.
No. 3 – Sobolta/Bessonov (OSU) def. Spencer-Lunt (Texas A&M), 8-2.