No. 3 Men's Tennis blanks No. 10 Texas A&M, 7-0, clinches share of Big 12 title
April 21, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 3 Texas (22-2, 5-0 Big 12) took the doubles point and completed a sweep of the singles matches on its way to a 7-0 victory over No. 10 Texas A&M (20-5, 5-1 Big 12) Wednesday evening in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown at UT’s Penick-Allison Tennis Center.
The win gives Texas at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title. It marks the sixth league title for the Longhorns in men’s tennis and the third under 10th-year head coach Michael Center.
Men’s tennis becomes the fourth UT program during the 2009-10 athletics season to capture a Big 12 Conference championship, joining Volleyball, Football and Men’s Swimming and Diving. The Horns would secure the league title outright with a victory at Nebraska on Sunday, April 25. Regardless, UT earns the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye at next week’s Big 12 Championships (April 29-May 2) in Austin.
Additionally, Texas earns a point in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown standings and now holds a 10.0-5.0 lead over the Aggies in the season-long standings.
Texas opened the doubles sessions with victories at the second and third slots to nail down the doubles point. At second doubles, UT’s 23rd-ranked duo of juniors Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico raced out to a 6-0 lead over A&M’s Alberto Bautista and Alexey Grigorov before finishing off the Aggies’ duo by an 8-2 count
Leading 3-2 at third doubles, Texas’ Jean Andersen and Vasko Mladenov broke the serve of Texas A&M’s Marcus Lunt and Alexis Klegou to assume 4-2 lead. Andersen and Mladenov held serve for a 5-2 lead and maintained their serve the rest of the way to preserve an 8-5 win and clinch the doubles point.
At first doubles, UT’s sixth-ranked duo of seniors Dimitar Kutrovsky and Josh Zavala broke Texas A&M’s third-ranked tandem of Austin Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo to take a 5-4 lead. UT held serve for a 6-4 lead and finished off the match by an 8-4 count.
At fourth singles, UT’s Andersen found himself down a break to A&M’s Grigorov, but after trailing 4-2, Andersen broke back and took the next four games to claim the set, 6-4. Grigorov broke Andersen early in set two, but once again Andersen rallied and powered past Grigorov, as he took the second set 6-3 to give Texas a 2-0 lead.
UT’s Mladenov dropped his first set to A&M’s Colin Hoover at sixth singles, 6-3, but Mladenov broke Hoover for a 2-1 lead and went on to a 6-3 second-set win. Mladenov broke Hoover in the first game of the third set and took control from there, winning 6-0 in the third set to give Texas a 3-0 lead.
The match-clinching point came from Zavala, one of four Texas seniors recognized prior to the match. At fifth singles, Zavala and A&M’s Bautista held serve throughout the first set and went to a tiebreaker, where Zavala prevailed by a 7-1 count. Zavala broke Bautista’s serve early in the ensuing set and seized control of the match, as he raced out to a 6-2 win to give the Horns the clinching point and a 4-0 lead.
At second singles, UT’s 21st-ranked Corrie picked up the one service break he needed early on against A&M’s 43rd-ranked Dadamo and went on to a 6-4 first-set win. Dadamo rallied to take the second set, 6-4, but Corrie broke early on again in set three and cruised to a 6-2 third-set win to push the Texas lead to 5-0.
A&M’s sixth-ranked Krajicek took the first set off of Texas’ Kutrovsky by a 6-4 count at first singles, and the second set progressed into a tiebreaker. Leading 3-2, Kutrovsky smacked a cross-court backhand winner off of a Krajicek serve to assume a 4-2 lead. Leading 6-2, Kutrovsky missed a forehand, but a Krajicek found the net on the ensuing point to give Kutrovsky the set. Kutrovsky raced out to a 4-0 lead in the final set and preserved UT’s sixth point after taking the set, 6-2.
At third singles, UT’s Damico took the first set off of A&M’s Klegou, 6-3, but with a 5-4 lead in set two, Klegou broke Damico’s serve to take the set, 6-4. Damico broke Klegou at 5-all in the second set and served out the following game to nail down the 7-0 Texas victory.
Jean Andersen got off the court and won in straight sets (at No. 4 singles), and then we were in control of the match at No. 6. Once again, Josh Zavala, a senior who has clinched so many matches for us through the years, came up and finished it off. It was great to see our seniors win tonight, but I was really proud of the whole team. I thought it was our best performance of the year. This team has been in a lot of big matches over the last few years. I thought they really had their focus on what they needed to get done, and I thought they were ready.
On the doubles session: The doubles point was pretty important. I thought we were better at No. 2, but to come out and dominate that match and get off the court was a big statement by our guys. To serve the match out at No. 3 after being down love-40 in that last game was huge. When we were down we fought back, and when we were ahead, we put them away. It was a great effort by our guys.
On the singles wins from Jean Andersen and Vasko Mladenov: I watched them and thought they both looked a little unnerved. They got off to some slow starts, but then Jean picked it up and got the first set. Vasko settled down after he lost the first set. You could see he was a little tense, but he began to dictate the match with his forehand. He got went to the third set and played a great third set.