Aggie men hold off LSU, 5-2

The No. 17-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team beat regional rival LSU in a 5-2 road victory contested on Sunday afternoon at W.T. “Dub” Robinson Stadium.

It marked the second-straight win for the Aggies (7-2) in the all-time series with the No. 37-ranked Tigers (2-5). A&M starting things off by claiming two of the three doubles matches courtesy of the No. 13-ranked tandem of junior All-American Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) and junior Jeff Dadamo (Tampa, Fla.), who handed Roger Anderson and Nate Skupski an 8-3 decision at the top of the lineup, followed by sophomore Alexis Klegou (Dunkerque, France) and senior co-captain Marcus Lunt (San Antonio, Texas), who rallied past Julien Gauthier and James Turbervill, 9-7, at No. 3.

“It was a lot closer than the score indicated,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “We were down a break at No. 3 doubles and could have potentially lost the doubles point, but Marcus and Klegou broke serve to win the match. They did a great job and that momentum carried over into the singles.”

Lunt and Klegou continued to provide a spark to the team and increased the Aggies’ lead to 3-0 in the match with pair of straight-set victories at the No. 6 and No. 3 lines. Lunt dispatched James Turbervill by a count of 6-1, 6-4, while Klegou defeated Julien Gauthier, 6-4, 6-2.

“LSU came out with a lot of energy in the singles,” Denton said. “Niall Angus, Alexey Grigorov and Austin Krajicek lost their first sets, so it was pretty close from the get-go. The turning point in the match was when Marcus got off to a good lead to put us up 2-0. Klegou was our other MVP of the match. He beat an LSU player we haven’t had much success against in the past for a 3-0 lead. Even the players who lost made comebacks in their second set to hold LSU from scoring on the board with the match still in the balance. That was really key for us, too, because there were some moments where it looked like it could either way.”

Dadamo, ranked No. 23 nationally in the Campbell/ITA singles rankings, clinched the road win with a hard-fought 7-6, 6-2 battle versus LSU’s Sebastian Carlsson at No. 2, rallying to win the first-set tiebreaker, 12-10, and rebounding from a four-love deficit in the second set. Krajicek, ranked No. 24, improved to an undefeated 7-0 on the season by winning a third-set super tiebreaker over No. 50-ranked Neal Skupski by a count of 10-4. He lost the first-set tiebreaker, won 6-4 in the second and was down 4-1 to start the super tiebreaker, before gaining ground to secure his fourth-straight win over a ranked opponent.

“It’s always hard to win on the road,” Denton said. “You have to be quite a bit better than the other team to get it done. It was really important for us to win this road match. In my mind, we are going to have to play better to be successful at Illinois and Ohio State and play at a much higher level. They are both good indoor teams, but we are a much-improved indoor team from years past. We haven’t hit on all cylinders as a team, but I anticipate that we are going to get better. I feel like we are getting more of our guys dialed in and that’s going to help us as we play some really good teams in the next couple of weeks. We will definitely be challenged.”

The Aggies will embark on a tough two-match road swing this weekend as they face a pair of Big Ten Conference powerhouses in No. 13 Illinois on March 5 in Champaign, Ill., and NCAA runner-up and third-ranked Ohio State on March 7 in Columbus, Ohio.

(17) TEXAS A&M 5, (37) LSU 2
Feb. 28, 2010
W.T. “Dub” Robinson Stadium
at Baton Rouge, La.
SINGLES
No. 1 – (24) Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M) def. (50) Neal Skupski (LSU), 6-7 (5), 6-4, 1-0 (4).
No. 2 – (23) Jeff Dadamo (Texas A&M) def. Sebastian Carlsson (LSU), 7-6 (10), 6-2.
No. 3 – Alexis Klegou (Texas A&M) def. Julien Gauthier (LSU), 6-4, 6-2.
No. 4 – Mark Bowtell (LSU) def. Alexey Grigorov (Texas A&M), 6-3, 7-5.
No. 5 – Stefan Szacinski (LSU) def. Niall Angus (Texas A&M), 6-4, 6-3.
No. 6 – Marcus Lunt (Texas A&M) def. James Turbervill (LSU), 6-1, 6-4.

DOUBLES
No. 1 – (13) Dadamo-Krajicek (Texas A&M) def. Roger Anderson-Skupski (LSU), 8-3.
No. 2 – Carlsson-Szacinski (LSU) def. Alberto Bautista-Grigorov (Texas A&M), 8-2.
No. 3 – Klegou-Lunt (Texas A&M) def. Gauthier-Turbervill (LSU), 9-7.

ORDER OF FINISH
Singles: 6, 3, 5, 4, 2*, 1
Doubles: 2, 1, 3

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