A&M Women Win Sixth Straight; Downs TCU 6-1

FORT WORTH – The Texas A&M women’s tennis team won its sixth consecutive match with a convincing 6-1 victory over TCU tonight at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center. The six-match winning streak is the Aggies’ longest since winning seven straight in 2009.

A&M, which has not dropped a match since its season opener, improves to 6-1. TCU drops to 4-3, including 3-2 in home matches.

“We won five of the six singles matches very or fairly convincingly against a good team in TCU, who was certainly highly motivated,” A&M first-year head coach Howard Joffe said. “The most encouraging thing about this match is that it is very self-evident that our girls have improved a lot. We actually played good tennis to get the victory today.”

Most of the excitement came in doubles, as the Aggies got off to a slow start but finished off the point with a bang, fighting off match points and winning tiebreakers in the last two matches standing to take a 1-0 lead. TCU had jumped out to a lead on all three courts, and the team of Gabby Mastromarino and Simona Parajova had given the Frogs an early edge after handing Sheri Olivier and Lauren Santacroce their first loss of the season with an 8-5 victory at the No. 3 line.

A&M’s Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun trailed the majority of their match against Gaby Barbosa and Olivia Smith at the No. 1 court before making a comeback. Down two service breaks at 5-3, the Aggies rallied and tied the score at 6-6. The teams held serve for each of the next four games to force a tiebreaker with the score tied at 8-8. The tiebreaker was tied for the fourth time at 5-5 before the Aggies scored the next two points to win the match.

Janelle Cuthbertson and Nazari Urbina also came from behind, staving off three match points to force a tiebreaker against Frederica Denti and Kelsey Sundaram at the No. 2 line. After trailing 5-2, the Aggies later fought off a match point to get within 7-7. TCU then took an 8-7 lead and had two match points, but A&M rallied once again to tie the score at 8-8 and send the match to a tiebreaker. The Aggies never trailed in the tiebreaker and took the lead for good at 4-3 en route to the 7-5 win to clinch the point.

“The doubles point is one of those great illusions,” Joffe said. “On the one hand it really only counts for one-seventh of the outcome of the match. And on the other hand, it is a powerful thing in terms of having the ability to win only three of the six singles matches. That being said, the doubles was absolutely hairy. I thought TCU played extremely well in the doubles, and I thought all three of our teams hung in there and fought really hard and gave us a chance. I would count us as quite fortunate to have ended up winning the doubles point.”

A&M, which entered the match 5-0 when winning the doubles point, won the point for the sixth consecutive match despite losing at the No. 3 line for the first time this season.

Sanchez-Quintanar, ranked No. 14 in singles, quickly gave the Aggies a 2-0 lead, disposing of Smith, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 1 singles line to improve to 7-0 in dual matches.

Santacroce put herself back into the win column and gave the Aggies a 3-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Mastromarino at the No. 4 line. Sun then clinched the winning point and gave the Aggies a 4-0 lead after posting a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Parajova at the No. 3 court.

Freshman Janine Erasmus followed with a 7-5, 6-4 win against Gaby Barbosa at No. 6 to put the Aggies ahead, 5-0, before Denti put the Frogs on the scoreboard with a 7-6 (1), 3-6, 1-0 (3) victory over Cuthbertson at the No. 5 line.

Urbina capped the win for the Aggies, coming back to defeat Stefanie Tan, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2.

“To lose the doubles the way we did was tough,” TCU coach Dave Borelli said. “We had match points and played a ball that was going out at match point. That’s just how the doubles went. I think we kind of checked out in singles after that. A&M is good and we just couldn’t come back after the doubles, which was kind of disappointing. It’s a long year, but if we can get healthy we’ll be fine. It’s a long process and our goal is still to win the conference and make the NCAAs.”

The victory marked A&M’s third consecutive win against the Frogs, who fall to 4-3 on the season, including 3-2 in home matches.

The Aggies now return to the Mitchell Tennis Center to begin a four-match home stand, starting Thursday, March 1 against BYU. A&M will also host South Florida (Friday, March 2), William & Mary (Tuesday, March 6) and No 11 Michigan (Friday, March 9) before opening Big 12 Conference play at Missouri on March 16.

TCU gets right back to action Wednesday with a visit from UT-Arlington. First serve at the Friedman Tennis Center is set for 5:30 p.m.

MATCH RESULTS – Texas A&M 6, TCU 1
SINGLES
No. 1 – #14 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. Olivia Smith (TCU), 6-1, 6-2
No. 2 – Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. Stefanie Tan (TCU), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
No. 3 – #86 Sun Wen (TAMU) def. Simona Parajova (TCU), 6-0, 6-4
No. 4 – Lauren Santacroce (TAMU) def. Gaby Mastromarino (TCU), 6-2, 6-2
No. 5 – Federica Denti (TCU) def. Janelle Cuthbertson (TAMU), 7-6 (1), 3-6, 1-0 (3)
No. 6 – Janine Erasmus (TAMU) def. Gabi Barbosa (TCU), 7-5, 6-4

DOUBLES
No. 1 – Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar/Sun Wen (TAMU) def. Gabi Barbosa/Olivia Smith (TCU), 9-8 (5)
No. 2 – Janelle Cuthbertson/Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. Federica Denti/Kelsey Sundaram (TCU), 9-8 (5)
No. 3 – Gaby Mastromarino/Simona Parajova (TCU) def. Sheri Olivier/Lauren Santacroce (TAMU), 8-5

MATCH NOTES
TCU 4-3; National ranking #37
Texas A&M 6-1; National Ranking #28
Order of Finish: Singles (1,4,3,6,5,2); Doubles (3,1,2)
Weather: 70F, No wind.
A-202; T: 4:07

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