A&M Defeats Baylor, 4-3; Advances to Championship Match

COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M and archrival Texas will battle one more time on the tennis courts as conference foes, as the No. 3 seed Aggies will take on the Longhorns in the finals of the Big 12 Tennis Championship, Sunday at noon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

A&M’s 61st-ranked Nazari Urbina came from a set down to defeat 22nd-ranked Nina Secerbegovic of Baylor 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the last match standing today to clinch the Aggies’ grueling 4-3 semifinal victory over the 12th-ranked and second seeded Lady Bears.

The Aggies (18-4) advance to the tournament finals for only the fifth time in the 16-year history of the tournament and for the first time since winning their only title in 2004. They also end a 12-match-losing stretch against Baylor, a streak that also dates back to 2004.

Today’s victory avenged a 5-2 loss earlier this season against the Lady Bears in Waco, Texas, with Urbina and Wen Sun each posting singles victories this go-around, which proved to be the difference.

“The matches were all a battle,” first-year A&M head coach Howard Joffe said. “I am very pleased for Sun at No. 3. She got some revenge on the kid that she had lost to last time. I had a feeling all along in the match that it would come down to Nazari’s match. She lost in three brutal sets to the same kid at Baylor and today came up on the winning side. I am delighted for her and for our kids, because they handled themselves with class and fought hard. They deserved a win like that.”

A&M got off to a strong start in doubles as 38th-ranked Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Sun posted their highest ranked win of the season with a convincing 8-2 victory over 13th-ranked Ema Burgic and Secerbegovic at the No. 1 line.

Janelle Cuthbertson and Urbina then secured the doubles point and extended their winning streak to 16 with an 8-6 victory over Megan Horter and Diana Nakic at No. 2. With the doubles point decided, the match at the No. 3 line was stopped with the score tied at 6-6.

“In a normal college match, the doubles point only counts as 1/7 of the score, but is a momentum swinger,” Joffe said. “Certainly for the team that we have this particular year at Texas A&M, it is a critical item because if you look at the scoreboard we were able to win at No. 1, 2 and 3, but just didn’t have the depth to even come close in the other spots on the day. The doubles proved to be critical.”

Sun was first off in singles, giving the Aggies a 2-0 lead after saddling 48th-ranked Sona Novakova a 6-0, 6-1 loss at No. 3. Sun had lost a third-set tiebreaker when the two battled earlier this season.

Baylor then came back with wins at the No. 6 and No. 4 lines to even the score, with Horter handing Sheri Olivier a 6-0, 6-2 loss and Burgic following with a 6-4, 6-2 defeat over Lauren Santacroce at No. 4.

In a match-up of the top two nationally ranked singles players in the conference, No. 8 Sanchez-Quintanar, reeled off eight consecutive games to break away from a 4-4 first-set tie to close out a 6-4, 6-0 victory over 15th-ranked Nakic and put the Aggies ahead 3-2. Sanchez-Quintanar improves to 21-1 in dual matches and 34-5 overall to move into sole possession of third place in the A&M records for most singles victories in a season.

Jordaan Sanford tied the score for the final time with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Cuthbertson at No. 5. The match wrapped up just minutes after the No. 2 court had begun the decisive third set.

The battle at No. 2 began with Secerbegovic going up a break at 4-3 and then holding serve to win the first set, 6-4. Urbina then jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second and went on to win, 6-3. The score was knotted at 3-3 in the third when Urbina broke Secerbegovic’s serve and went on to win the next two games for a 6-3 victory, putting the Aggies in the championship match.

Baylor finishes the season 23-8.

“They played a great match,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “They just outplayed us at enough positions to win the match. They are a tough team and deserve a ton of credit. They are good. They are just really good.”

“Nina has won so many big matches for us,” Scrivano said. “It is just tough to win them all. She has won a lot more than she has lost. I am proud of her. I am proud of the whole team. They really put it on the line today. We just have to look at this match and see what we could have done better. There is always things you could have done better, so we will take a real hard look at it. It is going to hurt to look at it, but we will get better for it. Now the most important tournament of the whole year is coming up, so we are looking forward to the NCAAs. We would love to make a good run there.”

Just as A&M avenged an earlier loss against the Lady Bears, Texas will be looking to get back at the Aggies after falling to A&M, 4-3, on April 17 in College Station. Urbina also won the last match standing in that contest to clinch the victory and end A&M’s nine-match losing streak against the Horns.

A&M’s last win against Texas in the Big 12 Championship was in the finals of the 2004 tournament to capture the Aggies’ only tournament title.

“There are no holes in Texas’ lineup,” Joffe said. “They have a very, very fine team one through six in singles and one through three in doubles. We would have to play terribly well to be competitive and we absolutely intend to do that. We will have to play very good tennis if we want to win tomorrow.”

Tickets may be purchased at the main entrance to the Mitchell Tennis Center.

No. 19 Texas A&M 4, No. 12 Baylor 3
Big 12 Championship – Semifinal
April 28, 2012
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas

Singles
1. (#8) Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. (#15) Diana Nakic (BU), 6-4, 6-0
2. (#61) Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. (#22) Nina Secerbegovic (BU), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
3. (#81) Wen Sun (TAMU) def. (#48) Sona Novakova (BU), 6-0, 6-1
4. Ema Burgic (BU) def. Lauren Santacroce (TAMU), 6-4, 6-2
5. Jordaan Sanford (BU) def. Janelle Cuthbertson (TAMU), 6-4, 6-3
6. Megan Horter (BU) def. Sheri Olivier (TAMU), 6-0, 6-3

Doubles (wins the point)
1. (#38) Sanchez-Quintanar/Sun (TAMU) def. (#13) Burgic/Secerbegovic (BU), 8-2
2. Cuthbertson/Urbina (TAMU) def. Horter/Nakic (BU), 8-6
3. Olivier/Santacroce (TAMU) vs. Nicole Kosakowski/Novakova (BU), 6-6, unfinished

Order of finish
Doubles: 1, 2
Singles: 3, 6, 4, 1, 5, 2*
*- Clinched match

Team records
Texas A&M: 18-4
Baylor: 23-7

TCU Women Into MW Championship Match For Fourth-Straight Year

TCU rolled over Wyoming, 4-0

SAN DIEGO – TCU’s women’s tennis team knocked off Wyoming, 4-0, on Saturday in the Mountain West Women’s Tennis Championship semifinals at San Diego State’s Aztec Tennis Center.

With the win, the 38th-ranked and top-seeded Horned Frogs improved to 17-5 on the year and advanced to the championship match for the fourth-straight year. No. 62-ranked Wyoming fell to 14-9 on the year. Additionally, TCU coach Dave Borelli advanced to his fifth-straight MW title as men’s and women’s coach.

“I thought it was a very hard fought battle,” Borelli said. “I don’t know how we won the doubles. It’s a real testament to the kids. Having the men’s team cheering for the girls really made a difference.”

TCU won the doubles point in thrilling fashion with wins at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles. Federica Denti and Kelsey Sundaram were first to win for the Frogs, an 8-3 decision over Szandi Kovacs and Sasa Nemcova at No. 2 doubles.

On court No. 3, the Frog tandem of Gaby Mastromarino and Simona Parajova fell behind 2-4 early in the eight-game pro set. After a service-game win made it 5-6, the TCU pair picked up broke Jessica Parizher and Silviya Zhelyzkova’s serve twice to grab an 8-6 win and give TCU a 1-0 lead.

The match at No. 1 doubles, which was called to a halt after the win at No. 3, was equally as thrilling. No. 51 Veronica Popovici and Simona Synkova of Wyoming jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but TCU’s No. 49-ranked duo of Millie Nichols and Olivia Smith had evened the match at 6 games apiece.

No. 119-ranked Parajova stretched the Frog advantage to 2-0 when she took down Synkova, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles. The freshman who was recently named All-MountainWest avenged an earlier three-set defeat by Synkova.

Stefanie Tan, the nation’s No. 78-ranked singles player, wasted no time making it 3-0 in favor of TCU with a 6-4, 6-1 downing of Popovici at No. 1 singles. The Mountain West Freshman of the Year, Tan improved to 13-8 this spring.

Shortly at the conclusion of Tan’s match, senior Mastromarino put TCU back into the championship match when she polished off a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Silviya Zhelyzkova on the sixth singles court.

All remaining matches were unfinished upon the match being clinched, including Nichols’, who was leading 7-6 (2), 5-0. Denti’s match was in a third set and Smith led 5-4 in the second after dropping the first set.

TCU faces No. 3-seeded San Diego State in Sunday’s championship match. First serve is set for 4 p.m. CDT. In five previous appearances in the Mountain West Women’ Tennis Championship finals, TCU is 3-2. In the regular season meeting between the Frogs and the host school, TCU was a 5-2 winner.

MATCH RESULTS – No. 1 TCU 4, No. 4 Wyoming 0
SINGLES
No. 1 – #78 Stefanie Tan (TCU) def. Veronica Popovici (Wyoming), 6-4, 6-1
No. 2 – #119 Simona Parajova (TCU) def. Simona Synkova (Wyoming), 6-1, 6-3
No. 3 – Olivia Smith (TCU) vs. Szandi Kovacs (Wyoming), 1-6, 5-4, unfinished
No. 4 – Millie Nichols (TCU) vs. Sasha Nemcova (Wyoming), 7-6 (2), 5-0, unfinished
No. 5 – Federica Denti (TCU) vs. Jessica Parizher (Wyoming), 6-3, 1-6, 1-2, unfinished
No. 6 – Gaby Mastromarino (TCU) def. Silviya Zhelyzkova (Wyoming), 6-1, 6-1

DOUBLES
No. 1 – #49 Millie Nichols/Olivia Smith (TCU) vs. #51 Veronica Popovici/Simona Synkova (Wyoming), 6-6, unfinished
No. 2 – Federica Denti/Kelsey Sundaram (TCU) def. Szandi Kovacs/Sasa Nemvoca (Wyoming), 8-3
No. 3 – Gaby Mastromarino/Simona Parajova (TCU) def. Jessica Parizher/Silviya Zhelyzkova (Wyoming), 8-6

MATCH NOTES
(1) TCU 17-5; National ranking #32
(4) Wyoming 14-9; National ranking #62
Order of finish: Singles (2,6,1,U,U,U); Doubles (2,3,U)
Weather: 81F, sunny
TCU advances to Sunday’s championship match against No. 3-seeded San Diego State

Texas upends top-seeded Texas Tech, 4-1, advances to Big 12 finals

Horns rally behind singles wins from Lina Padegimaite, Aeriel Ellis, Elizabeth Begley and Krista Damico to advance to the finals of the Big 12 Championship.

COLLEGE STATION – Fourth-seeded Texas (16-7) dropped the doubles point but rallied behind singles wins from Lina Padegimaite, Aeriel Ellis, Elizabeth Begley and Krista Damico to post a 4-1 win over top-seeded Texas Tech (19-5) Saturday in the semifinals of the 2012 Big 12 Championship.

The Longhorns advance to the finals at the Big 12 Championship for the 15th time in the event’s 16-year history and for the eighth consecutive season. Texas will meet host Texas A&M in Sunday’s final. The third-seeded Aggies edged second-seeded Baylor, 4-3 in the other semifinal. First serve is set for noon central at A&M’s Mitchell Tennis Center.

Texas Tech opened the match with victories at the first and third doubles slots to assume a 1-0 lead. At first doubles, Tech’s 28th-ranked tandem of Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo broke Texas’s Lina Padegimaite and Noel Scott twice and assumed a 4-0 lead. The Horns broke back in the following game, but Tech went on to claim an 8-3 victory.

At third doubles, a pair of early service breaks from Tech’s Rashmi Teltumbde and Elizabeth Ullathorne put the Lady Raiders into a 4-1 lead over the Horns’ Elizabeth Begley and Aeriel Ellis. Trailing 7-3, UT’s Begley and Ellis saved multiple match points and broke the Lady Raiders to pull within 7-4. But, Texas Tech broke UT’s serve in the following game to nail down an 8-4 win and clinch the doubles point. Texas’ Krista Damico and Cierra Gaytan-Leach held a 7-6 match lead and a 30-love lead in the final game over Tech’s Nikki Sanders and Caroline Starck at second doubles, but the match was called when Tech won its second match to clinch the doubles point.

Texas, however, yielded nothing further in singles play. At fourth singles, Padegimaite broke for a 4-3 lead against Tech’s Starck and held serve the rest of the way to take the set, 6-4. Padegimaite, who has yet to lose to a conference foe this season, broke Starck early in the second set en route to a 6-2 second-set win that gave her the win and evened the match at one.

Texas’ Ellis broke the serve of Tech’s Ullathorne early on at first singles and cruised to a 6-2 opening-set win. Ellis collected an early break in the second set and held serve through the remainder of the match to claim the second set, 6-4 and give Texas a 2-1 lead it would not surrender.

UT’s Begley, who joined Padegimaite to go undefeated in conference play, broke Tech’s Sanders to take a 5-3 lead in their first set at sixth singles. Sanders broke Begley’s serve to close within 5-4, but Begley returned the favor and broke Sanders once more to take the set, 6-4. Begley broke Sanders to take a 3-1 second-set lead, and Begley held serve the remainder of the match to win, 6-3 and stake Texas to a 3-1 lead.

Ultimately, the deciding point came courtesy of UT’s lone senior, Damico, at No. 2 singles. Trailing 4-2 in the first set, Damico held serve and broke the serve of Tech’s 104th-ranked Adams to even the set at four games all. Adams broke Damico to claim a 5-4 lead, but Damico broke Adams, held serve and broke Adams once more to outlast Adams in the first set, 7-5.

Damico followed a similar path to grab the second set that gave Texas the victory. Adams broke for a 4-3 lead, but Damico broke Adams and held serve for a 5-4 lead. Moments after Begley finished off her victory, Damico broke Adams’ serve one more time to take the set, 6-4 and deliver the 4-1 win to the Longhorns. The remaining matches at the third and fifth singles slots were suspended.

POST-MATCH COMMENTS
Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain
On the doubles results
They (Texas Tech) are a very good doubles team. The last time we played them, we didn’t get to play doubles, so we didn’t get a look at it. They kind of had the advantage there, and for us it was just one of those things where we just had to grind it out in singles. We knew that coming in, so it wasn’t a surprise for us. It would have been a bonus had we won the doubles point.

On the key to winning Sunday’s Big 12 title match
We have to play better in doubles. Tech is a really good doubles team, but we really didn’t play well. We did not step up and attack when we should have attacked. We let a couple slip away, so it would have been nice to see what would have happened had we really come to play. Tomorrow we have to come to play. It is a free-for-all at this point. There is a lot of pressure on all of these kids. It is just about who is going to manage it well and who is going to be able to concentrate and make the shots and execute.

On the four singles winners
Aeriel (Ellis) is finding her form. It’s good to see her playing well and getting it done. Lina (Padegimaite) is just getting stronger and stronger every day. (Elizabeth) Begley is just a fighter. Krista (Damico) found another gear out there. She was a little sluggish in the beginning of the match, and then she just found a whole different gear. That was great to see.

Texas senior Krista Damico
On turning the second set around at No. 2 singles

I hadn’t played well the entire match, and I knew it would come down to fighting and who wanted it more. I knew that it eventually could come down to my match. I definitely wanted to step up my game a little bit and try to be more aggressive, especially when the wind was behind me. I tried to stay as mentally tough as possible and I remembered to stick to my game plan.

On helping Texas reach the Big 12 Championship final for an eighth consecutive season

It means a lot. It’s definitely bittersweet for us. We wanted to be the No. 1 seed here, so it felt good to take them out. We know we have a really tough final no matter who we play tomorrow. Being a senior, this is right where we want to be, in the championship match. It’s the exact position we had in mind.

2012 Big 12 Championship – Semifinals
(4) Texas 4, (1) Texas Tech 1
Doubles – Order of Finish: 1, 3
1 #28 Samantha Adams/Kenna Kilgo (TTU) def. #55 Lina Padegimaite/Noel Scott (UT) – 8-3
2 Krista Damico/Cierra Gaytan-Leach (UT) vs. Nikki Sanders/Caroline Starck (TTU) – 7-6, susp.
3 Rashmi Teltumbde/Elizabeth Ullathorne (TTU) def. Elizabeth Begley/Aeriel Ellis (UT) – 8-4

Singles – Order of Finish: 4, 1, 6, 2
1 #38 Aeriel Ellis (UT) def. Elizabeth Ullathorne (TTU) – 6-2, 6-4
2 #67 Krista Damico (UT) def. #104 Samantha Adams (TTU) – 7-5, 6-4
3 Noel Scott (UT) vs. Rashmi Teltumbde (TTU) – 3-6, 6-4, 0-2, susp.
4 Lina Padegimaite (UT) def. Caroline Starck (TTU) – 6-4, 6-2
5 Cierra Gaytan-Leach (UT) vs. Kenna Kilgo (TTU) – 5-7, 6-2, 1-4, susp.
6 Elizabeth Begley (UT) def. Nikki Sanders (TTU) – 6-4, 6-3

Baylor Wins Thriller Over Texas Tech, 4-3

Bears post come-from-behind win to advance to Big 12 title match.

After falling to Texas Tech, 6-1, in Waco a month ago, Baylor’s men’s tennis team got sweet revenge on Saturday as they downed the 19th-ranked Red Raiders, 4-3, in the Big 12 Championship semifinals at Texas A&M’s George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

The win, a come-from-behind victory, advanced the Bears to the Big 12 Championship title match for the 11th time and the first time since 2009. Baylor is 7-3 in Big 12 Championship title matches. The 28th-ranked and third-seeded Bears will face top seeded Oklahoma at noon on Sunday. The Sooners, ranked No. 12, advanced to the championship match with a 4-1 win over Texas A&M.

“We had some spots that just weren’t very good today. We have got to do a better job of competing at every position, but at the same time we had some heroic efforts. Sometimes your teammates can pick you up and I think today some guys picked some other guys up. It was great to see us find a way to win on a day we didn’t have everybody going the same direction,” said head coach Matt Knoll.

The match lasted four hours and 39 minutes and came down to court four. With the match tied at 3-3, the outcome would be decided by a freshman and a junior, Baylor freshman Diego Galeano and Texas Tech junior Vitor Manzini.

To begin the match, Texas Tech won the doubles point when 19th ranked Roany Carvalho and Gonzalo Escobar downed No. 74 Mate Zsiga and Galeano, 8-4, at the top court and Jeff Bryan and Gabriel Wanderley downed Julian Bley and Marko Krickovic, 8-6, at No. 3 doubles.

The Red Raiders claimed their second point when Rafael Garcia posted a 6-3, 6-1 win over Krickovic at No. 3 singles. However, the Bears went on to win four of the remaining singles matches to claim the match win. Bley got the Bears on the scoreboard first with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Francisco Zambon on court six. Roberto Maytin, ranked No. 100, playing the No. 2 spot for the Bears, posted an upset victory over 75th-ranked Carvalho. Maytin trailed 1-4 in the first set but rebounded to claim a 7-5 first-set win. The junior won the second set to even the match score at 2-2.

The Red Raiders earned their last point of the day when Escobar downed Zsiga on court one, 6-2, 6-3. After winning the first set on court five, 6-2, Kike Grangeiro fell in the set, 5-7, but rebounded to win the third set and the match, 6-3, over Wanderley.

At that point, Galeano and Manzini were dueling it out on court four. Manzini had won the first set in a tiebreak, 7-6(5), Galeano countered with a tiebreak victory of his own, 7-6(2). When play ended on court five, Galeano and Manzini had just begun the third set, Galeano was leading 1-0. The duo each held serve throughout the third set and went to a tiebreaker. Galeano leapt out to a 4-1 lead and never looked back, claiming the set 7-6(3) and clinching the victory for the Bears.

“I was proud of Diego (Galeano). He didn’t play nearly as well as the opponent in the first set. It really wasn’t 7-6 close. He played better in the second and then the third was just a coin flip. I felt like he could go the distance physically. I thought emotionally and mentally would be the challenge for him. It was a windy day with a tough opponent,” said Knoll.

With the win, Baylor moves to 17-10 on the season and Texas Tech falls to 15-8.

TCU Falls to No. 38 Boise State in Mountain West Semifinals

Frog season comes to a close

SAN DIEGO – TCU’s men’s tennis team saw its season come to a conclusion Saturday with a 4-0 defeat by No. 38 and top-seeded Boise State in the semifinals of the Mountain West Men’s Tennis Championship at San Diego State’s Aztec Tennis Center.

The fourth-seeded Horned Frogs finished the year at 9-15, while the Broncos improved to 25-6. Boise State advanced to Sunday’s Mountain West championship match.

After BSU claimed a win at No. 1 doubles, TCU’s freshmen tandem of Nick Chappell and Will Stein bounced back for an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles over Damian Hume and Scott Sears. Their win forced the No. 3 doubles match to be the deciding one for the second-straight day.

TCU’s No. 3 duo of JT Sundling and Blake Wiggins earned a break early in the match to take a 4-2 lead, but were broken back at 4-all. With the match on serve and a 6-5 BSU advantage, the Bronco tandem of Andy Bettles and Filipp Pogostkin won a break point and served out an 8-5 win to give Boise State a 1-0 lead.

The top of TCU’s singles lineup hung tough with the Broncos as singles began, including Chappell winning the first set, 6-4, over No. 91-ranked James Meredith. Chappell’s match was eventually called to a halt at 4-4 in the second set. The Indianapolis native went 21-10 overall and 14-6 this spring

Stein was bettered at No. 5 singles, 6-1, 6-4, by Pogostkin to make it 2-0 in favor of the top-seeded Broncos.

Boise State ran its advantage to 3-0 when Nathan Sereke was able to knock off Daniel Sanchez, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 4 singles. Sanchez’s TCU career came to a close with him posting a 14-15 overall record and 9-11 dual season mark.

At No. 6 singles, Blake Wigginsfell 6-2 in the first set to Scott Sears, but was able to battle back and force a second-set tiebreaker. Ultimately, Sears proved too much and grabbed a 6-2, 7-6 (4) win to clinch the match for Boise State.

MATCH RESULTS – No. 1 Boise State 4, No. 4 TCU 0
SINGLES
No. 1 – #125 Nick Chappell (TCU) vs. #91 James Meredith (Boise State), 6-4, 4-4, unfinished
No. 2 – #68 Damian Hume (Boise State) vs. Facundo Lugones (TCU), 7-5, 5-3, unfinished
No. 3 – Andy Bettles (Boise State) vs. JT Sundling (TCU), 7-6 (3), 1-1, unfinished
No. 4 – Nathan Sereke (Boise State) def. Daniel Sanchez (TCU), 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 – Filipp Pogostkin (Boise State) def. Will Stein (TCU), 6-1, 6-4
No. 6 – Scott Sears (Boise State) def. Blake Wiggins (TCU), 6-2, 7-6 (4)

DOUBLES
No. 1 – James Meredith/Nathan Sereke (Boise State) def. Daniel Sanchez/Max Stevens (TCU), 8-3
No. 2 – Nick Chappell/Will Stein (TCU) def. Damian Hume/Scott Sears (Boise State), 8-6
No. 3 – Andy Bettles/Filipp Pogostkin (Boise State) def. JT Sundling/Blake Wiggins (TCU), 8-5

MATCH NOTE
(1) Boise State 25-6; National ranking #38
(4) TCU 9-15
Order of finish: Singles (5,4,6,U,U,U) Doubles (1,2,3)
Boise State advances to Sunday’s championship match

Aggie Women Advance to Semifinals, Blank K-State

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M’s Janelle Cuthbertson came from behind to get a clutch three-set victory and clinch the Aggies’ 4-0 win over Kansas State today in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

The 19th-ranked and No. 2-seed Aggies (17-4) now advance to the semifinals and face a rematch against 12th-ranked and No. 2 seed Baylor Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center.

A&M’s match against the No. 6 seed Wildcats was much closer than the score indicated, as the teams had split sets on the remaining three singles matches when Cuthbertson came through with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Carman Borau Ramos at the No. 5 line.

“In the context of the match, it was obviously a huge win,” A&M head coach Howard Joffe said about Cuthbertson’s match “She came from a set behind and if you have a good look at the scoreboard if Janelle had gotten beaten in two sets, the matches are very tenuous. We are down in the third set and having lost the first set on the other two remaining courts. It was a critical match and I am really pleased for Janelle, because she has health problems up and down. It is a nice win for her in a critical match.”

Cuthbertson also played a role in clinching the doubles point to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead. The 38th-ranked duo of Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun had given A&M an early edge with an 8-3 victory over 68th-ranked Karla Bonacic and Petra Niedermayerova at the No. 1 line before Borau Ramos and Petra Chuda evened the race for the point with an 8-4 victory over Sheri Olivier and Lauren Santacroce at No. 3.

With the decision coming down to the No. 2 court, Cuthbertson and partner Nazari Urbina went up a break at 7-5 against Marketa Trousilova and Carli Wischhoff and then held serve to win the match, 8-5, and give the Aggies a 1-0 lead. It marked the 15th consecutive win for Cuthbertson and Urbina, as they improve to 15-1 in dual matches, all at the No. 2 position.

Santacroce had a strong and decisive performance at No. 4 singles, defeating Wischhoff, 6-1, 6-1, to give A&M a 2-0 lead. Sanchez-Quintanar, ranked No. 8 in singles, then fought off a stubborn Niedermayerova, coming back from a 5-3 deficit in the second set to defeat the 27th-ranked and 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year, 6-3, 7-5 at the top of the lineup to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead.

Sanchez-Quintanar, the 2012 Big 12 No. 1 singles champion with a 9-0 record during the conference regular season, improved to 16-1 in dual matches and 33-5 overall to move into a tie for third in the A&M records for most singles wins in a season.

“Cristina is a huge talent,” Joffe said. “There is no question about that and she is a very fine player, but she is an absolute warrior. It is awful tough against Niedermayerova, because she is an awful good player. Cristina has had three monumental battles against her this year and actually won all of them. It is awful tough to do that. It is okay to beat the New England Patriots one time, but to beat them three times in a row, it is not so easy. That just speaks to Cristina’s character. She is just inherently a fighter.”

The remaining matches were coming down to the wire. Urbina had lost the first set in a tiebreaker against Bonacic, 7-6 (3), but held a narrow 4-3 lead in the second set at the No. 2 line when play was halted.

Sun had dropped a 7-6 (6) first set to Ana Gomez Aleman and held a slim 4-3 edge in the second at No. 3, while Olivier had split sets with Trousilova, 7-5, 2-6, and was down 1-0 in the third before Cuthbertson came through.

“It is interesting because I think at this time of the year, it is easy to forget the kids are students as well,” Joffe said. “Exams are coming up, and this is not an excuse for our time by any measure; the same is true on the day for Kansas State I am sure. At this time, generally the kids are pretty beat up and tired. It is just a very different dynamic suddenly in a tournament. I expected it to be difficult and it was difficult. Fortunately we had enough on the day. I thought that Kansas State fought very, very well and also played rather well.”

K-State, which was thumped, 6-1, by the Aggies earlier this year, ends its season 8-14.

The Aggies now look forward to a rematch against six-time defending Big 12 tournament champion Baylor. The Lady Bears have eliminated the Aggies each of the last two years in the semifinals and defeated A&M in a hard-fought, four-and-a-half hour, 5-2 match in Waco earlier this year.

“More than anything it is just another opportunity for our team to play against a real strong team in Baylor,” Joffe said. “The message, unfortunately, is no different than any other day. We need to play better tennis than what Baylor does, and we will do everything we can to do that.”

No. 1 Texas Tech and No. 4 Texas battle in the other semifinal match also at 2 p.m. The A&M men, who knocked off Texas today in the first round of the men’s tournament, face No. 1 Oklahoma at 11 a.m.

Tickets may be purchased at the main entrance to the Mitchell Tennis Center.

No. 19 Texas A&M 4, No. 67 Kansas State 0
Big 12 Championship – Quarterfinal
April 27, 2012
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas

Singles
1. (#8) Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. (#27) Petra Niedermayerova (KSU), 6-3, 7-5
2. (#61) Nazari Urbina (TAMU) vs. Karla Bonacic (KSU), 6-7 (3), 4-3, unfinished
3. (#81) Wen Sun (TAMU) vs. Ana Gomez Aleman (KSU), 6-7 (6), 4-3 unfinished
4. Lauren Santacroce (TAMU) def. Carli Wischhoff (KSU), 6-1, 6-1
5. Janelle Cuthbertson (TAMU) def. Carmen Borau Ramos (KSU), 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
6. Sheri Olivier (TAMU) vs. Marketa Trousilova (KSU), 7-5, 2-6, 0-1 unfinished

Doubles (A&M wins the point)
1. (#38) Sanchez-Quintanar/Sun (TAMU) def. Bonacic/Niedermayerova (KSU), 8-3
2. Cuthbertson/Urbina (TAMU) def. Trousilova/Wischhoff (KSU), 8-5
3. Borau Ramos/Petra Chuda (KSU) def. Olivier/Santacroce (TAMU), 8-4

Order of finish
Doubles: 1, 3, 2
Singles: 4, 1, 5*
*- Clinched match

Team records
Texas A&M: 17-4
Kansas State: 8-14

No. 12 Baylor Women Advance at Big 12 With 4-1 Win Over OU

Baylor earned a semifinal spot for the ninth consecutive Big 12 Championship

COLLEGE STATION – Baylor’s 13th-ranked women’s tennis team battled through windy conditions to defeat a gritty No. 47 Oklahoma team 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship in College Station, Texas.

The second-seeded Lady Bears (22-6) fell behind multiple times during the match, but overcame an opening defeat in doubles and erased big first-set deficits on two courts in singles to earn the semifinal berth over the seventh-seeded Sooners (11-13). The win gives Baylor its ninth in a row in the Big 12 quarterfinals, and keeps it alive to attempt to win its seventh consecutive league tournament title.

“They have a good team, a really good team,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “We were fortunate to come through. We just battled. That is the thing that I am most pleased about. The conditions were obviously really tough, and we just kept competing on all of the courts. That is all you can ask for.”

Oklahoma’s 35th-ranked pair of Marie-Pier Huet came out in doubles and captured the first victory of the day in upset fashion, 8-5, over Baylor’s 13th-ranked duo of Nina Secerbegovic and Ema Burgic. The loss for the Baylor pair snaps a five-match win streak.

However, Baylor bounced back with two new pairs on Courts 2 and 3. The team of Megan Horter and Diana Nakic partnered for the first time since the opening tournament of the fall, and held off OU’s Abbi Melrose and Mia Lancaster 8-5. On Court 3, the first-time pairing of Nicole Kosakowski and Sona Novakova won the clincher, taking an 8-5 win over Nicole Long and Whitney Wofford.

“It is just another point,” Scrivano said. “The name of the game is you have to get to four points. Today it did come in handy because we were struggling in singles. That had a lot to do with Oklahoma.”

In singles, Oklahoma appeared to be on its way to staging an upset, winning the first set on three courts and leading two others 4-1. Baylor’s lone first-set win at the time came from Jordaan Sanford, who posted a quick 6-2, 6-1 win over Long on Court 5 to give the Lady Bears a 2-0.

Sanford’s win seemed to spark Baylor’s Burgic on Court 4 and Horter on Court 6, both of whom were trailing 4-1 in their opening sets. Both players, however, came back to win a first-set tiebreak. Horter took her tiebreak 7-6(3) and finished 6-2 to give Baylor its third point, and Burgic won hers 7-6(4) and 6-2 to clinch the match, 4-1.

“The biggest thing today that helped us is that we turned two matchups that we lost in the regular season,” Scrivano said. “For us to have the success in the postseason that we want, our freshman developing is a big key. We were noticing [over] the last month that the freshman were playing better, and I think today was a big breakthrough for us. If we can get our whole team to compete hard from start to finish then I think we are a pretty darn tough team to play.”

Baylor’s lone loss came at on Court 1 with OU’s Whitney Ritchie coming from behind to beat No. 15 Diana Nakic 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 prior to the final BU point.

Baylor will now face tournament host and third-seeded Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championships semifinals on Saturday. The first serve is slated for 2 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.

Baylor Men Advance to Big 12 Semifinals with 4-0 Win Over Oklahoma State

Bears down OSU in tournament play.

Baylor advanced to the semifinals of the Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championships with a 4-0 victory over Oklahoma State at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Complex on a windy Friday morning.

Next, the 28th-ranked and third-seeded Bears will face second-seeded Texas Tech at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The 19th-ranked Red Raiders earned the tournament’s No. 2 seed by finishing 4-1 in league play. Texas Tech brings a 15-7 season record into the match. The Red Raiders downed Baylor, 4-3, in Lubbock earlier this season.

“We felt like we played pretty well at No. 2 and 3 doubles, it was great to get off quick. We didn’t do a good job when we played them a couple weeks ago in Stillwater. The scores were pretty similar in doubles and then they won three of the first set in singles. We were kind of lucky to win that match. Today we really wanted to emphasize coming out and getting off to a good start in singles and we didn’t lose a set in singles so I am pretty please with that,” said head coach Matt Knoll.

Against OSU, Baylor swept through doubles, winning by 8-1 scores on both courts two and three. The 59th-ranked tandem of Roberto Maytin and Kike Grangeiro raised their record to 5-3, when they breezed past Chris Haworth and Eric West at No. 2. On court three, Julian Bley and Marko Krickovic easily downed Trevor Horstmann and Alejandro Carstens. Bley and Krickovic are now 6-3 on the season. When play was halted, Baylor freshmen, 74th-ranked Mate Zsiga and Diego Galeano, were tied with Rifat Biktyakov and Vlad Bondarenko, 4-4, on court one.

The Bears continued their domination with three relatively quick singles wins. In fact, all six Baylor singles players turned in first-set victories. Baylor’s first player off the court was 16th-ranked Zsiga with a 6-1, 6-3 win at the top court over OSU’s Vlad Bondarenko. With the win, Zsiga raised his team-leading season record to 20-2. Next, Bley, a senior, followed with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Carstens at No. 6. Grangeiro, another senior, clinched the match for the Bears with a 6-3, 6-1 triumph at No. 5 over Horstmann. When play was halted, Maytin and Krickovic both had second-set leads and Galeano was tied at 5-5.

The match marked the final match for OSU head coach James Wadley, who is retiring after 40 years at the helm of the program. “He has been there 40 years. I think he started being the coach there when I was in first grade and I feel like I have being doing this a long time. He probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves for what he accomplished at Oklahoma State. I think he will be missed in college tennis, he is truly one of the good characters in our sport,” said Knoll.

The victory over Oklahoma State raised Baylor’s season record to 16-10 while the Cowboys fell to 7-14.

For complete results please visit: http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/m-tennis/stats/2011-2012/okst2.html

No. 18 Texas falls to Texas A&M, 4-2 in Big 12 quarterfinals

Horns get singles wins from Daniel Whitehead and Sudanwa Sitaram in the defeat to the Aggies.

COLLEGE STATION – Fourth-seeded Texas (16-9) collected singles wins from Daniel Whitehead and Sudanwa Sitaram, but fifth-seeded Texas A&M (13-13) emerged with a 4-2 victory over the Horns Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Big 12 Championship.

Texas and Texas A&M split the first two matches before the teams engaged in a tight match at No. 3 doubles to decide the doubles point. The Aggies’ Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow led off with an 8-3 win at the first slot over the Horns’ 36th-ranked duo of Chris Camillone and David Holiner. Texas’ junior tandem of Ben Chen and Daniel Whitehead responded with a convincing win at second doubles, where they dealt A&M’s Niall Angus and John Lewis an 8-2 defeat.

At No. 3 doubles, with the two teams on-serve and A&M leading 6-5, the Aggies’ Colin Hoover and Alexis Klegou broke the serve of UT’s Soren Hess-Olesen and Jacoby Lewis to assume a 7-5 lead. The Aggies held serve in the final game to close out the match, 8-5 and win the doubles point.

UT’s Sitaram raced out to a 6-0 first-set win at third singles over the Aggies’ Hoover. Sitaram closed out the win with a 6-3 second-set victory to even the match at one point apiece. The Aggies struck back at first singles, where Klegou dealt UT’s Hess-Olesen a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to claim a 2-1 A&M lead.

UT evened the match with a win at second singles from Whitehead. The Texas junior broke A&M’s Ore to even the first set at four before holding serve and breaking Ore once more to take the set, 6-4. Whitehead broke Ore late in the second set and took the set, 6-4 to win the match and even the team score at two.

The Aggies’ Withrow put A&M in the lead once again, as he posted a 6-3, 6-3 win over UT’s Lloyd Glasspool. At fifth singles, A&M’s Lewis took the first set in a tiebreaker off of UT’s Chen, 7-6(2). Chen broke Lewis in the second set to tie the set at four, but Lewis broke Chen in the following game to take a 5-4 second-set lead. Lewis held serve in the next game to win the match, 6-4 and close out the 4-2 victory for the Aggies. The final match at fourth singles was suspended.

The NCAA will announce its selections to the NCAA Championship on Tuesday, May 1 at 4:30 p.m. CT on NCAA.com.

POST-MATCH COMMENTS
Texas head coach Michael Center
“We played four matches this year (against Texas A&M), and the team that won the doubles point won all four matches. We were not very good today at No. 1 doubles. They got on us and they just put us away. We have been inconsistent at No. 3 doubles, and we really struggled to hold serve again today. I think we broke twice and still got beat 8-5. In the singles, to win at Nos. 2 and 3, with those guys the way we did in straight sets and then not to be able to get another point, honestly, is a little disappointing. I give them credit. They did a good job, but we have to play better in some spots if we want to win another match this year.”

2012 Big 12 Championship – Quarterfinals
(5) Texas A&M 4, (4) Texas 2
Doubles – Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1 #47 Junior Ore/Jackson Withrow (A&M) def. #36 Chris Camillone/David Holiner (UT) – 8-3
2 #78 Ben Chen/Daniel Whitehead (UT) def. Niall Angus/John Lewis (A&M) – 8-2
3 Colin Hoover/Alexis Klegou (A&M) def. Soren Hess-Olesen/Jacoby Lewis (UT) – 8-5

Singles – Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2, 6, 5
1 #34 Alexis Klegou (A&M) def. #70 Soren Hess-Olesen (UT) – 6-3, 6-1
2 #101 Daniel Whitehead (UT) def. Junior Ore (A&M) – 6-4, 6-4
3 Sudanwa Sitaram (UT) def. Colin Hoover (A&M) – 6-0, 6-3
4 David Holiner (UT) vs. Jeremy Efferding (A&M) – 3-6, 6-0, 0-2, susp.
5 John Lewis (A&M) def. Ben Chen (UT) – 7-6 (2), 6-4
6 Jackson Withrow (A&M) def. Lloyd Glasspool (UT) – 6-3, 6-3

No. 13 Texas defeats Oklahoma State, 4-1, advances to Big 12 semifinals

Horns win the doubles point and add singles wins from Aeriel Ellis, Elizabeth Begley and Cierra Gaytan-Leach to earn a berth in Saturday’s semifinals.

COLLEGE STATION – Fourth-seeded Texas (15-7) claimed the doubles point and posted singles wins from Elizabeth Begley, Aeriel Ellis and Cierra Gaytan-Leach, as the Horns posted a 4-1 win over fifth-seeded Oklahoma State (11-9) Friday in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Big 12 Championship.

Texas advances to Saturday’s semifinals where it will meet top-seeded Texas Tech, whom the Horns defeated earlier this month in Austin by a 4-2 count.

Texas took on the Cowgirls for the second time in five days, and unlike the previous match, Texas set the tone by taking the doubles point. At third doubles, UT’s Begley and Ellis broke the serve of OSU’s Isabela Miro and C.C. Sardinha in the match’s opening game and never looked back, as the Horns cruised to an 8-1 win. At the second slot, Texas’ Krista Damico and Gaytan-Leach broke OSU’s Meghan Blevins and Mary Jeremiah to assume a 3-2 lead. The Horns claimed the next four games and sailed to an 8-3 victory to preserve the doubles point for Texas.

Begley remained undefeated against conference foes this season, as she posted a 6-4, 6-2 win over OSU’s Miro at sixth singles to push the Texas lead to 2-0. UT’s 38th-ranked Ellis extended the Texas lead to 3-0 behind a 6-3, 6-4 win over the Cowgirls’ Sardinha at first singles. OSU closed the deficit to 3-1, as Blevins topped UT’s Scott at third singles, 7-6 (6), 6-4.

Texas’ Gaytan-Leach dropped the first set in a tiebreaker to OSU’s Jeremiah at fifth singles but overpowered Jeremiah in the second set, 6-2. Gaytan-Leach broke Jeremiah early in the third set, and it proved to be the only break she needed, as she closed out the third set, 6-4 to finish off the 4-1 win for the Longhorns. The remaining matches were suspended.

POST-MATCH COMMENTSTexas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain

On the win
“We played much better today. We had an unfortunate go against them last weekend. The conditions were very similar today as they were last weekend. We worked pretty hard this week. It was a big mental hurdle for us to get over today. We didn’t play very well last weekend, but we played much better today. It was great to see the girls get a win.”

On playing Texas Tech on Saturday
“They are a tough team. What we do best is we battle hard. We have got good strategy and we have got really good play­ers. For us, it is about battling as hard as we can from the first point to the last point and never giving an inch. That’s when good things happen for us.”

2012 Big 12 Championship – Quarterfinals
(4) Texas 4, (5) Oklahoma State 1
Doubles – Order of Finish: 3, 2
1 #55 Lina Padegimaite/Noel Scott (UT) vs. #50 Kanyapat Narattana/Malika Rose (OSU) – 6-6, susp.
2 Krista Damico/Cierra Gaytan-Leach (UT) def. Meghan Blevins/Mary Jeremiah (OSU) – 8-3
3 Elizabeth Begley/Aeriel Ellis (UT) def. Isabela Miro/C.C. Sardinha (OSU) – 8-1

Singles – Order of Finish: 6, 1, 3, 5
1 #38 Aeriel Ellis (UT) def. C.C. Sardinha (OSU) – 6-3, 6-4
2 Krista Damico (UT) vs. Malika Rose (OSU) – 6-7 (7), 6-4, susp.
3 Meghan Blevins (OSU) def. Noel Scott (UT) – 7-6 (6), 6-4
4 Lina Padegimaite (UT) vs. Kanyapat Narattana (OSU) – 3-6, 6-4, 4-3, susp.
5 Cierra Gaytan-Leach (UT) def. Mary Jeremiah (OSU) – 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4
6 Elizabeth Begley (UT) def. Isabela Miro (OSU) – 6-4, 6-2