COLLEGE STATION, Texas – No. 4 Texas A&M remained in a four-way tie for first place in the Southeastern Conference overall standings following a 4-0 victory over No. 23 Auburn tonight at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The win sets up a crucial showdown with No. 7 Alabama on Sunday in the Aggies’ final home match of the regular season. A&M, 17-2 overall, and the Crimson Tide are both 9-1 in conference matches to lead the SEC Western Division, and the two teams are in a four-way tie with Florida and Georgia for first place overall with three matches remaining.
“The fact that we got over today and were able to win it convincingly sets up Sunday as a really important match for us and our program,” A&M head coach Howard Joffe said. “In the context of the SEC, obviously Sunday’s match is a big match, and there is no way to finesse it. I’m sure for us it will be anxiety provoking and nerve-wracking, because the reality is we are going to get to play a very good match on Sunday. It will be exciting.”
The race for the doubles point against the Tigers was decided by a tiebreaker at the No. 3 line after the teams had split at Nos. 1 and 2. Auburn took the early edge as 26th-ranked Pleun Burgmans and Plamena Kurteva defeated A&M’s seventh-ranked duo of Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu, 8-5, at No. 1
A&M got a win at the No. 2 line, where 72nd-ranked Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun jumped out to a 4-1 lead and went on to defeat Emily Flickinger and Jackie Kasler, 8-3. It was the fifth consecutive win for the Aggie pair.
At the No. 3 line, A&M twins Ines and Paula Deheza were on serve with Auburn’s Jen Pfeifler and Paulina Schippers at 6-6. The match stayed on serve at 8-8, forcing a tiebreaker to be played to determine the winner. The Aggie duo pulled away for a 9-8 (7-1) win, improving to a team-best 11-5 in dual matches, including 7-2 in SEC contests, while also giving A&M the 1-0 lead.
As long as it took the Aggies to take control of the doubles point, A&M would easily take early command in singles, winning the first set on all six courts.
Stancu, playing the No. 3 line for the first time this season, quickly finished off Kasler, 6-1, 6-0, to give the Aggies a 2-0 lead. Ines Deheza soon followed and won her ninth consecutive match with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Kurteva at the No. 4 line to put A&M ahead, 3-0.
Auburn held strong in the second sets on the remaining four courts before fifth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar finished off No. 36 Burgmans, 6-0, 7-5, at the No. 1 court to clinch the victory for the Aggies.
A&M’s Nazari Urbina held a 6-3, 4-4 lead over Michala Kucharova at the No. 2 line, and Sun held and identical lead at No. 5 against Ashley Kitchen when Sanchez-Quintanar clinched the winning point. At the No. 6 court, Hristov won her first set, 6-3, against Schippers and was up 5-4 in the second when play was stopped.
“With respect to today, I thought the girls again had a really rocky road in the doubles, which was as obvious as can be, but in the singles, we came out and really, really, really did a good job against an Auburn team that fights. They really proved it in the second sets in all of the matches. They sort of came back from lopsided matches to at least contest them very well. I am very happy with the results, but we have lots of work to do for Sunday.”
First serve against the Crimson Tide is at noon at the Mitchell Tennis Center. A&M’s three seniors – Sanchez-Quintanar, Sun and Urbina – will be recognized after the match.
Free live video and scoring will be available on AggieAthletics.com. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M women’s tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654
No. 4 Texas A&M 4, No. 23 Auburn 0
April 5, 2013
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
1. #5 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. #36 Pleun Burgmans (AU), 6-0, 7-5
2. #55 Nazari Urbina (TAMU) vs. Michala Kucharova (AU), 6-3, 4-4 unfinished
3. #68 Cristina Stancu (TAMU) def. Jackie Kasler (AU), 6-1, 6-0
4. Ines Deheza (TAMU) def. Plamena Kurteva (AU), 6-0, 6-1
5. Wen Sun (TAMU) vs. Ashley Kitchen (AU), 6-3, 4-4 unfinished
6. Stefania Hristov (TAMU) vs. Paulina Schippers (AU), 6-3, 5-4 unfinished
Doubles (Texas A&M wins the point)
1. #26 Burgmans/Kurteva (AU) def. #7 Hristov/Stancu (TAMU), 8-5
2. #72 Sanchez-Quintanar/Sun (TAMU) def. Emily Flickinger/Kasler (AU), 8-3
3. I. Deheza/Paula Deheza (TAMU) def. Jen Pfeifler/Schippers (AU), 9-8 (1)
Order of finish
Doubles: 1, 2, 3
Singles: 3, 4, 1
Texas A&M: 17-2, 9-1 SEC
Auburn: 15-6, 5-5 SEC