COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M women’s tennis team swept the doubles matches and got straight-set victories on all six singles courts to defeat Kansas State, 7-0, in front of 493 tonight at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
A&M’s Christi Liles (Largo, Fla.) and Elzé Potgieter (Bloemfontein, South Africa) opened doubles by making quick work out of Vanessa Cottin and Antea Huljev, taking less than 35 minutes to defeat the KSU tandem, 8-1, at the No. 2 line.
Despite a slow start, Stephanie Davidson (Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas) and Morgan Frank (Oldsmar, Fla.) clinched the doubles point for A&M. The Aggie pair dropped their first three games to Natasha Vieira and Viviana Yrureta at the No. 3 line but then reeled off eight consecutive games to secure the point. The win also marked the Aggie duo’s sixth straight win, and they remained undefeated in Big 12 matches only, improving to 8-0.
Anna Blagodarova (Toronto, Ontario) and Tiffany Clifford (Little Rock, Ark.) completed the sweep, but not until winning a tiebreaker against Olga Klimova and Katerina Kudlackova at No. 1. With the match tied at eight games apiece, A&M jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the tiebreaker en route to a 7-3 win.
“I was a little disappointed in the doubles,” A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said. “We just started off a little bit flat and then got better as it went on. Then in singles, I was proud of the way the girls came out and took care of it from the start. It’s one of those matches where we took care of what we needed to do and moved on.”
A&M immediately was awarded a point at the start of singles as Klimova defaulted to Davidson at the No. 6 line. Blagodarova then put the Aggies up, 3-0. After spotting Kudlackova a 3-0 lead at the No. 3 line, Blagodarova reeled off 12 straight games to finish off the match 6-3, 6-0.
Frank secured the winning point for the Aggies, cruising to a 6-1, 6-1 win against Vieira at the No. 5 line. With the win, Frank extended her singles winning streak to nine and remained perfect in Big 12 play at 8-0.
Clifford never trailed in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Cottin at the No. 5 spot, putting the Aggies up, 5-0. Liles followed with a 6-0, 6-4 win against Huljev at No. 2 to keep the Wildcats scoreless.
Potgieter had just completed a hard-fought 7-5 first-set victory over Yrureta at the No. 1 line when Liles completed her match, but Potgieter raced to a 6-2 second-set win to complete the shutout for the Aggies.
“Kansas State is very talented, and if you are not out dictating play, then they are going to play better, and they are going to win a lot of points because they do hit the ball very well,” Kleinecke said. “You could especially see that at No. 1 singles with Elzé struggling in that first set a little bit. But as soon as she stepped up and started dictating play, she started controlling the play and that created more errors for the other girl. That was a big key of just stepping up and taking care of it.”
With the win, A&M improves to 13-6 overall and remains in the hunt for the Big 12 title with a 7-1 record with three matches remaining. K-State drops to 6-11, 2-6.
“When you play these types of teams, even though they are middle-of-the-conference teams, they are capable of beating you on any given day,” Kleinecke said. “But if you play your game, you’ll be okay. We are still having our sights on a conference championship. Right now we will need Texas to help us out and beat Baylor, but then we’ve got to take care of ourselves in playing Texas and everybody else too. You don’t want to set the table right and then all of a sudden slip up against a team that you should beat. That makes every match important.”
The Aggies have another important home match Sunday against Kansas (7-11, 3-5 Big 12). First serve is at 1 p.m. at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
Live scoring of all A&M women’s matches is available at AggieAthletics.com.
No. 33 Texas A&M 7, Kansas State 0
1. (#75) Elzé Potgieter (A&M) def. Viviana Yrureta (KSU), 7-5, 6-2
2. Christi Liles (A&M) def. Antea Huljev (KSU), 6-0, 6-4
3. Anna Blagodarova (A&M) def. Katerina Kudlackova (KSU), 6-2, 6-0
4. Tiffany Clifford (A&M) def. Vanessa Cottin (KSU), 6-3, 6-2
5. Morgan Frank (A&M) def. Natasha Vieira (KSU), 6-1, 6-1
6. Stephanie Davidson (A&M) def. Olga Klimova (KSU), default
Doubles (A&M wins the point)
1. Blagodarova/Clifford (A&M) def. Klimova/Kudlackova (KSU), 9-8 (3)
2. Liles/Potgieter (A&M) def. Cottin/Huljev (KSU), 8-1
3. Davidson/Frank (A&M) def. Vieira/Yrureta (KSU), 8-3
Order of finish (D2, D3, D1, S6, S3, S5*, S4, S2, S1)
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center (Attendance: 493)
Team records: Texas A&M (13-6, 7-1); Kansas State (6-11, 2-6 Big 12)