TULSA, Okla. – Texas A&M’s Conor Pollock and Austin Krajicek reached the NCAA doubles semifinals for the first time in school history with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over 14th-ranked Drew Eberly and Justin Kronauge of Ohio State in quarterfinal-action held Saturday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Tulsa.
The All-American duo goes where no Aggie has ever gone before as they remain in contention for a national title. They await a meeting with fourth-seeded Jonas Berg and Erling Tveit of Mississippi in tomorrow’s semifinal match scheduled for 4 p.m. (CT). Pollock and Krajicek become the first A&M players in program history to advance to the Final Four at the NCAA Individual Championships in singles or doubles. The winner will advance to Monday’s championship finals and face either second-seeded Robert Farah and Kaes Van’t Hof of USC or Bram ten Berge and Matthias Wellermann of Ole Miss.
“It’s awesome to know that we are the first to make it this far in school history,” said Krajicek who became only the second freshman in A&M tennis history to earn All-America recognition next to former player Jerry Makowski in 2005. “But, Conor and I hope to become the first Aggies to win a national championship. We are taking it one match at a time and feel really good about our chances.”
After dropping the first set, 4-6, Pollock and Krajicek dug deep within and broke Ohio State’s serve on five different occasions from the beginning of the second set continuing on through the third set. They only allowed one game in the second to split sets at 6-1. The Aggie pair later held serve to go up 5-3 in the third set which included a service ace by Krajicek. Eberly and Kronauge tried to stay composed with the match on the line on their next service game. The Buckeye duo could not survive four deuce points as A&M gained the advantage and returned serve which was hit long for a final 6-3 count.
“In the first set, we had a chance to break early, but lost our momentum and intensity,” Krajicek said. “We realized that we had to pick it up. In the second set, we played really aggressive and took it to them. We were able to keep the momentum going all the way to the end of the match.”
Pollock, a junior from San Antonio, Texas, and Krajicek, a native of Brandon, Fla., are now on a four-match win streak and raised their overall doubles record to 13-1. Ranking 20th nationally in the ITA Collegiate Rankings, the Aggie duo is also 7-1 against ranked opponents this season including four wins against the top 15.
“Our intensity level dropped a little bit in the first set, but Conor and Austin were able to raise it in the second,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “They did a good job of breaking serve and got out on the races. That really changed the momentum of the match. We got aggressive and were able to handle the adversity. I was really proud of them. They came back and got a hold of that second set. We never let Ohio State back into the match.”
Meanwhile, Ole Miss’ Berg and Tveit, who are ranked fifth nationally and hail from Sweden, picked up their 30th victory of the season with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, win over North Carolina’s Taylor Fogleman and Chris Kearney in Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Aggies and Rebels have never faced each other in regular-season or fall competition this season.
“There is no question that Conor and Austin are one of the elite doubles teams in the country,” Denton said. “They continue to prove it in this tournament. I’m so proud of them. They have gelled so well as a team and have played their very best tennis. Ole Miss is a very experienced doubles team. It’s going to be a really close match and I’m confident that we will have a great chance.”
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 24, 2008
Michael D. Case Tennis Center
at Tulsa, Okla.
Austin Krajicek-Conor Pollock (Texas A&M) def. Drew Eberly-Justin Kronauge (Ohio State), 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.