Junior Alexey Grigorov (Moscow, Russia) led the 17th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team to its sixth-straight victory with a 7-0 shutout of No. 44 Oklahoma State in Big 12 Conference action held Sunday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies (13-4, 2-0) are off to a 2-0 Big 12 start in addition to the second-longest win streak in the Steve Denton Era behind last year’s seven-match winning stretch where A&M also swept the Oklahoma schools and knocked off eventual national champion USC and then seventh-ranked Illinois. The win marked the third-straight in the all-time series with the Cowboys (6-8, 0-2) and the first shutout in 26 all-time meetings between the two schools since 1980.
For the sixth consecutive match, the Aggies controlled things early by winning the doubles point behind the ninth-ranked tandem of junior All-American Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) and junior Jeff Dadamo (Tampa, Fla.) who topped No. 12-ranked Oleksandr Nedovyesov and Aleksey Bessonov of OSU, 8-2, at the No. 1 line. Senior co-captain Marcus Lunt (San Antonio, Texas) and sophomore Alexis Klegou (Dunkerque, France) followed suit with an 8-6 victory over Maximilian Kuhn and Ilija Martinoski at No. 3.
“I think the (windy) conditions were such that it was ugly tennis today,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “Our guys were able to compete, play well, and win some tough matches. I was proud of their effort. The doubles was really important. Today, we were down 5-1 at No. 3 doubles and found a way to come back to win it. I’m really proud of the way our guys continue to battle, compete and stay in there – to find a way to claw their way back into a match. After we won the doubles point, it gave us some momentum.”
Three of the six singles matches went into three sets extending match play for four and a half hours on the court. A&M went up 2-0 after freshman Alberto Bautista (McAllen, Texas) claimed a straight-set victory over Eric West, 6-3, 6-2, at the No. 5 line. Bautista has now won six of his last seven matches of the season for a 12-3 dual mark.
Jeff Dadamo, ranked No. 30 nationally in the Campbell/ITA Rankings, won his third-straight with a 6-2, 6-3 decision over No. 75-ranked Anton Bobytskyi, while Grigorov clinched the match for the Aggies winning his second second-set tiebreaker on serve in three days, 6-2, 7-6 (5), at the No. 4 line. Grigorov is currently on a team-best six-match winning streak at 11-4 on the season.
“Today was a really important match,” Grigorov said. “It’s good to go 2-0 in Big 12 Conference play. The last time we played Oklahoma State (on Jan. 31) the score was 4-1. It wasn’t that easy, so today, we came prepared. Only a few of the matches were tight today. They were ready for us, played aggressive, but we took the win.”
With the match already decided, No. 21-ranked Austin Krajicek rallied back from a 6-2 first-set deficit to two-time Big 12 Player of the Year and No. 19-ranked Oleksandr Nedovyesov with a service break at four-all and winning the second-set tiebreaker, 7-6 (5). Krajicek went on to claim his second career victory over Nedovyesov, formerly the No. 1 player in the country, winning 10-8 in the third-set super tiebreaker.
Alexis Klegou and sophomore John Lewis (Birmingham, Ala.), a transfer from Alabama, completed the sweep of the Cowboys winning their third-set tiebreakers at the No. 3 and No. 6 lines respectively. Klegou won his fifth-straight match of the season over Aleksey Bessonov, 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (5), while Lewis picked up his third dual match win of his A&M career versus Maximilian Kuhn, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
“Thanks to Alberto (Bautista) and Jeff (Dadamo) for handling their guys today as well as (Alexey) Grigorov to finish up by winning the second-set tiebreaker,” Denton said. “If you look at our results, we won all of the tiebreakers today, which is a good sign that we are able to play solid tennis, when the match is on the line.”
The Aggies continue their eight-match homestand with a midweek non-conference doubleheader scheduled against UT Arlington and No. 42 Rice on Wednesday, March 31 at noon (CT) and 6 p.m. (CT) respectively at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
(17) TEXAS A&M 7, (44) OKLAHOMA STATE 0
March 28, 2010
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
at College Station, Texas
No. 1 – (21) Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M) def. (19) Oleksandr Nedovyesov (OSU), 2-6, 7-6 (5), 1-0 (8).
No. 2 – (30) Jeff Dadamo (Texas A&M) def. (75) Anton Bobytskyi (OSU), 6-2, 6-3.
No. 3 – Alexis Klegou (Texas A&M) def. Aleksey Bessonov (OSU), 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (5).
No. 4 – Alexey Griorov (Texas A&M) def. Ilija Martinoski (OSU), 6-2, 7-6 (5).
No. 5 – Alberto Bautista (Texas A&M) def. Eric West (OSU), 6-3, 6-2.
No. 6 – John Lewis (Texas A&M) def. Maximilian Kuhn (OSU), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
No. 1 – (9) Krajicek-Dadamo (Texas A&M) def. (12) Nedovyesov-Bessonov (OSU), 8-2.
No. 2 – West-Bobytskyi (OSU) def. Grigorov-Bautista (Texas A&M), 9-7.
No. 3 – Klegou-Marcus Lunt (Texas A&M) def. Kuhn-Martinoski (OSU), 8-6.
ORDER OF FINISH
Singles: 5, 2, 4*, 1, 3, 6
Doubles: 1, 3, 2