Both Sanaz Marand and Conor Pollock fell in tough three-set matched Saturday at the NCAA Championship being held in College Station.
In the final set, Pollock broke to go up 2-1, but Strode answered with a break of his own to even it at two-all. Strode closed out the seesaw match by a count of 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
“It was anybody’s match there for a while,” Pollock said. “I was up a break and I played a loose game on my serve to get broken back. You just can’t do that at this level. My forehand kind of broke down a little towards the end. I missed a lot of balls. Give Blake a lot of credit. He’s a great athlete and played a great match.”
Pollock closed out his storied four-year career in Aggieland as a three-time All-American, three-time All-Big 12 Conference singles selection, two-time All-Big 12 doubles selection, three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Teamer and Wilson/ITA South Central Region singles and doubles champion. He etched his name into the A&M record books tied for 10th all-time with 65 career singles dual victories and fourth all-time with 67 career doubles dual victories. He is one of only four players in program history to garner All-America honors three-or-more times next to four-time All-American Shuon Madden (1998-01), three-time All-American Lester Cook (2002-04) and three-time All-American Grant Connell (1984-85).
“It was a great year and I enjoyed it,” said Pollock who graduated this May with a degree in finance from the prestigious Mays Business School on campus. “I had a great career and I’m going to miss it a lot. But, it’s time to move on and see what the future holds for me on the professional tennis circuit.”
Stay tuned to more news and an announcement about Pollock right here in the near future.
Marand saw her run at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship end Saturday with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 loss to Miami’s Julia Cohen at Texas A&M’s Mitchell Tennis Center. Marand completes her 2008-09 campaign with a singles record of 29-14, including a 20-8 mark in dual match play, and All-America honors in both singles and doubles.
Saturday’s national quarterfinal match with No. 2 overall seed Cohen was tight throughout the first two sets, with both players winning a set, 7-5. After Cohen broke Marand at 5-all in the first, the Miami junior served out the set for the lead. Marand then raced out to a 4-1 lead in the second set and held on to even match at a set apiece.
But Cohen scored an early break in the third and deciding set and quickly led 4-0. With Marand serving at 15-30 in the fifth game of the set, play was suspended due to inclement weather and the two players were forced to endure a delay of more than an hour.
After the break, Cohen completed the break to go up 5-0 before Marand broke back to get on the board and make it 5-1. The No. 2 seed would not be denied, however, and finished off the match with a final break to win, 7-5, 5-7, 6-1.
In doubles action Baylor’s Csilla Borsanya and Lenka Broosova remain the only team with Texas ties in the draw. San Antonio’s Jamie Hunt and his partner Nate Schnugg fell, as did Houston’s Lauren Lui and her partner, Georgia Rose.
Pollock and Austin Krajicek came up short with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to No. 17-ranked Clay Donato and Taylor Fogleman of North Carolina in the quarterfinals.
The seventh-ranked and No. 5-8 seeded Aggies were only able to break the Tar Heels once in the two-set match, tying up the score at four-all in the first set. Both teams held their serve through the first four games in the second set, but UNC gained the momentum breaking at 3-2 and finished the deciding game on serve. Tournament play was suspended at 12:40 p.m. (CT) after the completion of the men’s singles quarterfinals due to lightning and rain and A&M resumed doubles at 3:15 p.m. (CT) after close to a two-hour weather delay.
“They played well,” Krajicek said. “We obviously didn’t play our best. Give them credit. They didn’t let us get into a rhythm. We had our opportunities in the first set and we just let it slip. Clay (Donato) was returning really well, so he made it tough for us to get into a rhythm. We had some game points that we could have won. We should have broke back in the second game which could have changed the momentum. They just played well and better on big points. We had a great season. Obviously, we wanted to make it a little further in this tournament, but that’s the way it goes. We had a good year in doubles and as a team (reaching the NCAA Sweet 16).”
Krajicek and Pollock ended the season with an impressive 30-9 overall and 22-5 dual record which is tied for fifth best for the most single-season victories in the A&M record books. Last year, the Aggie tandem reached the men’s doubles semifinals for the first time in school history in Tulsa, Okla. Their top eight seed, national ranking and quarterfinal appearance this season earned them All-America distinction for a second year in a row.
“They played lights out,” Pollock said. “We didn’t play that bad of a match. We could have returned a lot better. Obviously, we didn’t return very well. If we could have put more pressure on their serves, we could have turned it around. Give them credit. They played a solid match.”
Men’s Singles Quarterfinals
Sanam Singh (Virginia) def. (1) Arnau Brugues (Tulsa), 6-2, 6-4
(9-16) Steven Moneke (Ohio State) def. (5) Bruno Agostinelli (Kentucky), 6-3, 2-6, 6-2
(9-16) Blake Strode (Arkansas) def. (9-16) Conor Pollock (Texas A&M), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Devin Britton (Mississippi) def. Alex Clayton (Stanford), 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4
Women’s Singles Quarterfinals
(8) Chelsey Gullickson (Georgia) def. (1) Maria Mosolova (Northwestern), 6-1, 6-4
(2) Julia Cohen (Miami) def. Sanaz Marand (North Carolina), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1
(5) Mallory Cecil (Duke) def. (3) Aurelija Miseviciute (Arkansas), 6-3, 6-3
Laura Vallverdu (Miami) def. (9-16) Marrit Boonstra (Florida), 6-1, 6-7 (9), 6-3
Men’s Doubles Quarterfinals
(2) Davey Sandgren/John-Patrick Smith (Tennessee) def. (5-8) Steve Forman/Cory Parr (Wake Forest), 6-3, 6-7 (4) 6-3
Tim Puetz/Alexey Tsyrenov (Auburn) def. (4) Jamie Hunt/Nate Schnugg (Georgia), 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
Dominic Inglot/Michael Shabaz (Virginia) def. (5-8) Omar Altmann/Bassam Beidas (Pepperdine), 6-4, 6-2
Clay Donato/Taylor Fogleman (North Carolina) def. (5-8) Austin Krajicek/Conor Pollock (Texas A&M), 6-4, 6-4
Women’s Doubles Quarterfinals:
Csilla Borsanya/Lenka Broosova (Baylor) def. Micaela Hein/Kelcy McKenna (Arizona State), 6-3, 6-0
Natalie Pluskota/Caitlin Whoriskey (Tennessee) def. Josipa Bek/Ina Hadziselimovic (Clemson), 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
(5-8) Hilary Barte/Lindsay Burdette (Stanford) def. Lauren Lui/Georgia Rose (Northwestern) , 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
(5-8) Mari Andersson/Jana Juricova (California) def. (1) Renata Kucerkova/Anastasia Petukhova (Fresno State), 7-6 (1), 6-3
MEN’S ALL-HOTTIE TEAM
Again, this was not my doing. It all started with a reader’s list that was passed along to me on the women’s side. Afterwards, I put out a call for any women willing to select a men’s team. I was not disappointed as several came forward to compile this list for me. Unlike the women’s team, where the team had to be in College Station, the men’s team includes anyone who played in CS.
So, with no further ado:
Austen Childs, Louisville, Sophomore, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Diego Cubas, South Carolina, Junior, Santa Catarina, Brazil
Clay Donato, North Carolina, Junior, Toronto, Ontario
Blake Strode, Arkansas, Senior, St. Louis, Missouri
Devin Britton, University of Mississippi, Freshman, Jackson, Mississippi
Brad Cox, Kentucky, Sophomore, Duluth, Georgia
Christian Rojmar, Texas Tech, Senior, Stockholm, Sweden
Houston Barrick, Virginia, Junior, Brentwood, Tennessee
Brett Helgeson, Notre Dame, Senior, Overland Park, Kansas
Christian Vitulli, Georgia, Junior, Mombasa, Kenya