TULSA, OK -- It took a little over an hour for Texas A&M men’s tennis standouts Conor Pollock (pronounced PAUL-luck) and Austin Krajicek (pronounced CRY-check) to pull off the upset of top-seeded and top-ranked Somdev Devvarman and Treat Huey of Virginia, 6-3, 6-4, in the Round of 16 at the 2008 NCAA Men’s Doubles Championship held Friday night at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.
It marked Pollock and Krajicek’s highest career doubles victory to date and third-straight win. They improved to an impressive 12-1 on the season and earned All-America honors for the first time of their A&M careers. The junior right-hander from San Antonio, Texas, and freshman left-hander from Brandon, Fla., become only the second A&M doubles team in school history to advance to the quarterfinals since the All-American doubles combination of Grant Connell and Greg Hill in 1984.
“We got on and off the court,” said Krajicek on how fast the match lasted. “We played really aggressive and we went for it. We were pretty confident that we could win the match and knew we were just as good as them. It was good for us to get on top of them early in the first set and quickly in the second set. It’s an awesome feeling (to be an All-American), but we still have three more matches to go for a shot at winning the whole tournament.”
The Aggie duo got a service break to even the first set at 3-all and quickly won the next three games to gain the momentum. With another 3-all scenario in the second set, Pollock and Krajicek went up a break, 4-3, and held serve for the remainder of the match. They are now 6-1 against ranked opponents this season with three wins against doubles teams ranked in the top 6 including then fifth-ranked Andy Connelly and Ross Cunningham of Tulsa on Feb. 10 and then sixth-ranked Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico of Texas on April 19.
“I was pretty calm and took it one point a time,” said Pollock who served for match point which resulted in a love-game to clinch the straight-set win over the Cavaliers. “We went after it and made all of our shots count. We played smart, mixed it up pretty well and kept them off balance. It was a great team effort.”
Pollock and Krajicek are among eight all-time A&M players to garner All-American status in doubles on six different occasions including Grant Connell (1984), Dumitru Caradima (1999 and 2000), Ante Matijevic (2003 and 2004), Greg Hill (1984), Shuon Madden (1999 and 2000) and Lester Cook (2003 and 2004).
"I was really proud of how well they played and pleased with their effort today,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “The key to the match was that we served well and the service partner was very aggressive at the net. That really made a big difference. We really went after the ball and played hard. Conor and Austin played free by playing the point and taking control of the match early. It is neat to see them come together and play what they are capable of playing. They played at a very high level today that was good enough to beat the No. 1 team in the country.”
Meanwhile, Drew Eberly and Justin Kronauge of Ohio State defeated 15th-ranked Jean-Yves Aubone and Clint Bowles of Florida State, 6-4, 7-6 (3), to move on to the quarterfinals where they will meet Pollock and Krajicek tomorrow at a time to be determined. Eberly and Kronauge are currently ranked 14th nationally with a 27-7 overall record. Doubles play between the Aggies and Buckeyes will begin no earlier than 4 p.m. at the Case Tennis Center.
“They are pretty good returners and are real solid from the baseline,” said Krajicek who played against Ohio State’s Kronauge on the junior tennis circuit. “If we can play the same way we did today by being aggressive, keeping them off balance and playing close to the net, we’ll be in a good position.”
Tennis Sidebar…Pollock and Krajicek, ranked No. 20 nationally in the ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in school history on Friday. Their round of 16 victory marked only the fourth time in eight years that a No. 1 doubles seed did not reach the NCAA quarterfinals next to an opening-round loss by the No. 1 seed from Ohio State at host Stanford in 2006, an opening-round loss by the No. 1 seed from UCLA at host Texas A&M in 2002 and a opening-round loss by the No. 1 seed from Florida at host Georgia in 2000. Former All-Americans Shuon Madden and Dumitru Caradima, ranked 10th nationally leading into the 2001 NCAA Doubles Championship, lost 6-4, 6-4, to the top-ranked doubles team ironically from Virginia in Huntley Montgomery and Brian Vahaly in the Round of 32. Prior to their loss to Pollock and Krajicek, Virginia’s Somdev Devvarman and Treat Huey only lost four previous times this season and finish the year at 37-5 overall. Devvarman, originally from India, is college tennis’ top singles player and owns the most career wins (15) in NCAA Singles Championship history.
Watch It Live…Visit www.TulsaHurricane.com for live scoring and streamline video from the doubles championships played on the campus of the University of Tulsa. The Tennis Channel will broadcast the singles and doubles finals live on Monday, May 26 beginning at noon (CT).
2008 NCAA Doubles Championship
May 23, 2008
Michael D. Case Tennis Center
at Tulsa, Okla.
ROUND OF 16
Austin Krajicek-Conor Pollock (Texas A&M) def. (1) Somdev Devvarman-Treat Huey (Virginia), 6-3, 6-4.