HOUSTON – The No. 21 Texas A&M men’s tennis team was edged by No. 24 Rice, 4-3, Wednesday afternoon at the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
The Aggies (10-9) secured the doubles point for the second-straight match as senior Mike Beatty (Cincinnati, Ohio) and freshman Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.) defeated the Rice duo of Chong Wang and Tobias Scheil, 8-6, at the No. 2 line. The No. 48-ranked A&M combination of Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) and Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) led the way with an 8-5 victory over No. 22-ranked Ralph Knupfer and Christoph Müller at No. 1.
A&M could not keep the momentum going in singles as the Owls (13-7) won four of six first sets setting up a 2-1 lead after straight-set victories by No. 27-ranked Bruno Rosa over No. 15-ranked Pollock, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 1 and Wang over sophomore Chris Chirico (Philadelphia, Pa.), 6-1, 6-4, at No. 4. Rosa, a native of Brazil and a new addition to the Rice lineup this season, has been ranked as high as No. 402 in the ATP singles rankings.
Krajicek, who has won four of his last five matches at the No. 3 line, tied the match up at two-all with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Rice’s Knupfer. He will compete as an amateur on the USTA Futures Tour next week after receiving a wild card tournament entry in Little Rock, Ark. Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton says Krajicek has been playing solid and hitting the ball pretty well.
The match came down to the No. 5 and No. 6 positions as freshman Kayvon Karimi (Dallas, Texas) and senior Matt Bain (Georgetown, Texas) battled Rice’s Dennis Polyakov and Filip Zivojinovic in three sets. After taking the first set 6-4, Karimi dropped the next two which sealed the win for the Owls. Although the match was already decided, Bain later pulled off yet another close three-setter with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Zivojinovic at the No. 5 line.
“It was a hard-fought match,” Denton said. “We had our chances just like we’ve had in several of our 4-3 matches this season. The good news is that we are doing a better job in doubles and having some success there. As a team, we need to work on having a sense of urgency in keeping a good lead and the momentum on our side. Rice was able to seize the momentum of the match. We have to figure out a way to get everyone playing well in the same match. We are playing some better teams now and we are going to have to play better to meet that challenge.”
A&M will look to bounce back with a Big 12 Conference road match at Nebraska on Friday, April 11 in Lincoln, Neb. First serve between the Aggies and Huskers is set for 3 p.m. at the Nebraska Tennis Center.
(24) RICE 4, (21) TEXAS A&M 3
April 9, 2008
Jake Hess Tennis Stadium
at Houston, Texas
No. 1 (27) Bruno Rosa (Rice) def. (15) Conor Pollock (Texas A&M), 6-3, 6-2.
No. 2 (49) Christoph Müller (Rice) def. (90) Wil Spencer (Texas A&M), 6-1, 7-6 (1).
No. 3 Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M) def. Ralph Knupfer (Rice), 6-2, 6-4.
No. 4 Chong Wang (Rice) def. Chris Chirico (Texas A&M), 6-1, 6-4.
No. 5 Matt Bain (Texas A&M) def. Filip Zivojinovic (Rice), 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
No. 6 Dennis Polyakov (Rice) def. Kayvon Karimi (Texas A&M), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
No. 1 (48) Pollock-Krajicek (Texas A&M) def. (22) Knupfer-Müller (Rice), 8-5.
No. 2 Mike Beatty-Spencer (Texas A&M) def. Wang-Tobias Scheil (Rice), 8-6.
No. 3 Polyakov-Rosa (Rice) def. Bain-Chirico (Texas A&M), 8-6.
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles: 1, 3, 2
Singles: 1, 4, 3, 2, 6*, 5