COLLEGE STATION, Texas- The Texas A&M women’s tennis team won its fourth consecutive match and kept its hopes alive for a share of the Big 12 Conference title with a 6-1 victory over No. 75 Kansas in front of 410 today at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
A&M (14-6) improves to 8-1 in Big 12 matches heading into the State Farm Lone Star Showdown against conference co-leader and undefeated Texas (14-4, 8-0) on Wednesday. With a win against rival Texas, the Aggies and Longhorns could tie co-leader Baylor for a share of the league championship if Texas defeats Baylor and A&M wins at Texas Tech in the final matches of the regular season.
“Today is no different than Wednesday night,” A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said about the importance of winning the Kansas match. “You have to win every one of them, and then we’ll be pulling for Texas. But we have to take care of that on Wednesday. Texas is a very good team. They are a lot better team this year than they were last year. They are going to be a tough team. I’m glad we have them here at home, and I hope we get a good crowd. They can kind of help us through this match, because that is a big factor in this match.”
The match against the Longhorns would not have had such major implications had A&M not overcome the windy conditions to defeat Kansas (7-12, 3-6 Big 12).
“I felt like they came out more focused from the start of the match today than they did on Friday,” Kleinecke said, referring to his team’s 7-0 win against Kansas State. “That was an adjustment in the doubles. I thought they were pretty energetic in the doubles. The problems that we were having were, Kansas obviously has players, but then also it was a tough day for both teams to play in this wind. It was a really tough wind, and we had to make adjustments. And they did that. They handled that very well. It’s just that sometimes tennis isn’t pretty on either side when it is windy like this.”
The Aggies swept the doubles portion for the second consecutive match. Stephanie Davidson (Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas) and Morgan Frank (Oldsmar, Fla.) ran their winning streak to seven and remained undefeated in Big 12 matches at 9-0 as they defeated Maria Martinez and Magdalena Tokarczyk, 8-2, at the No. 3 line.
Anna Blagodarova (Toronto, Ontario) and Tiffany Clifford (Little Rock, Ark.) then clinched the doubles point for A&M, defeating Elizaveta Avdeeva and Edina Horvath at No. 1. The Aggie tandem was up, 3-2, and then reeled off five straight games to complete the commanding 8-2 victory.
“No. 1 doubles had been struggling with getting ahead,” Kleinecke said. “They would get a couple of games ahead and kind of let it slip. Today they got up 3-1, lost four straight points and lost that game, and then we were down in the next game, but they caught themselves and brought it to 4-2. That was an improvement to me, for them to take care of the points.”
Christi Liles (Largo, Fla.) and Elzé Potgieter (Bloemfonein, South Africa) then completed the sweep with an 8-6 victory against Kunigunda Dorn and Lauren Hommell at the No. 2 line.
Liles put the Aggies ahead, 2-0, with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against Avdeeva at the No. 2 singles line. Davidson then finished off Hommell, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 6, and 75th-ranked Potgieter sealed the victory for the Aggies with a 6-0, 6-3 win against Tokarczyk at the No. 1 line.
“I thought Elzé played an extremely good match,” Kleinecke said. “For a set and a half, it was almost flawless.”
Frank ran her singles winning streak to 10 and improved to 8-0 in Big 12 matches only with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against Yuliana Svistun at No. 5 to give the Aggies a 5-0 lead.
Dorn prevented a shutout and earned Kansas’ only point as she defeated Clifford, 6-1, 7-6 (5) at the No. 4 line.
In the only three-setter of the day, Blagodarova and Horvath split sets at the No. 3 line with Horvath taking the first set after winning a tiebreaker, 7-3. Blagodarova then won the second set, 6-3, to force a third-set super tiebreaker. Tied at 5-all, Blagodarova ran off five consecutive points to win the set and the match.
The Aggies’ match against Texas on Wednesday marks the end of A&M’s regular-season home schedule. A&M’s three seniors – Marisa Druss (Austin, Texas), Blagodarova and Clifford -- will be honored prior to the match, which begins at 6 p.m.
In addition, several promotions will be offered on “Senior Day”: Anyone wearing maroon will be admitted free; the first 100 fans will receive a free Aggie tennis sling bag; special activities for Junior Aggie Club Day; and the Where’s Wilson grand prize contest for a chance to win an iPod Touch.
Live scoring of all A&M women’s matches is available at AggieAthletics.com.
No. 33 Texas A&M 6, No. 75 Kansas 1
1. (#75) Elzé Potgieter (A&M) def. Magdalena Tokarczyk (KU), 6-0, 6-3
2. Christi Liles (A&M) def. Elizaveta Avdeeva (KU), 6-1, 6-4
3. Anna Blagodarova (A&M) def. Edina Horvath (KU), 6-7 (3), 6-3, 1-0 (5)
4. Kunigunda Dorn (KU) def. Tiffany Clifford (A&M), 6-1, 7-6 (5)
5. Morgan Frank (A&M) def. Yuliana Svistun (KU), 6-1, 6-4
6. Stephanie Davidson (A&M) def. Lauren Hommell (KU), 6-2, 6-2
Doubles (A&M wins the point)
1. Blagodarova/Clifford (A&M) def. Avdeeva/Horvath (KU), 8-2
2. Liles/Potgieter (A&M) def. Dorn/Hommell (KU), 8-6
3. Davidson/Frank (A&M) def. Maria Martinez/Tokarczyk (KU), 8-2
Order of finish (D3, D1, D2, S2, S6, S1*, S5, S4, S3)
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center (Attendance: 410)
Team records: Texas A&M (14-6, 8-1); Kansas (7-12, 3-6 Big 12)