COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M All-American doubles tandem of senior Conor Pollock and sophomore Austin Krajicek remained true to their top seed as they knocked off three-straight Texas doubles teams, en route to the 2008 Wilson/ITA South Central Region Doubles Championship title Monday night at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The win qualified the Aggie duo for a spot in the prestigious ITA National Indoors on Nov. 6-9 on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. Pollock and Krajicek, ranked fourth nationally in the preseason ITA rankings, defeated fifth-seeded Dimitar Kutrovsky and Josh Zavala of Texas, 10-8, in the third-set super tiebreaker with a 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 victory. They become only the third Aggie duo to capture an ITA regional doubles title next to All-Americans Shuon Madden and Dumitru Caradima in 1998 and former players Cody Hubbell and Jarin Skube in 2000.
“It is a tremendous honor to accomplish such a feat and be named among the Madden’s and Caradima’s of A&M Tennis,” Pollock said. “The competition is always tough at regionals, but it is going to get a lot tougher when we play at the ITA National Indoors. Austin and I are going to keep working hard and hopefully, prepare ourselves to play our very best there. It’s the most prestigious tournament of the year and we look forward to it.”
Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) and Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) started off the tournament with a golden set, a rare feat in tennis where a set is won without dropping a single point, in the opening round of the doubles draw on Saturday. They followed their title run with an 8-3 victory over Attila Bucko and Jurica Grubisic of Baylor in the round of 16, an 8-5 result over Jonah Kane-West and Olivier Sajous of Texas in the quarterfinals and an 8-5 win over fourth-seeded Ed Corrie and Jon Wiegand of Texas in the semifinals also played on Monday.
“Hopefully, this tournament will be a preview of the spring and hosting the NCAA Championships in May,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “It gives our players something to shoot for. I was very pleased with the way our guys stepped up and played today. Conor is really showing his senior leadership and has been playing well on the big points, which was the difference today.”
In singles competition, Pollock earned a coveted spot in the singles finals after ousting seventh-seeded and No. 46-ranked Olivier Sajuou of Texas, 7-6, 6-4, in the quarterfinals, only to face fellow A&M sophomore teammate Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.) in the semifinals. Pollock outlasted Spencer in the second-set tiebreaker 7-4 for a close 7-5, 7-6 result. Spencer reached the semis by way of eliminating fifth-seeded and No. 35-ranked Cristoph Muller of Rice, 7-6 (5), 7-5, in the quarters. He has now defeated six ranked opponents and posted a team-leading 11-3 record this fall with a shot as an at-large bid for the ITA National Indoors.
“It was a really close match,” Denton said. “In those kind of situations, you just want to go out and play your best match against a good friend and a teammate. You give it your all and see where the chips fall. I was really proud of Wil and the way he fought and played during the entire tournament. He has really stepped up his game and has improved a lot. We have some good tennis players on this team, which will make us very dangerous in the spring.”
Pollock will take on second-seeded and No. 14-ranked Bruno Rosa of Rice tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. Pollock is currently ranked No. 17 nationally and has already qualified for his second-straight ITA National Indoors via the ITA All-American Championships. Last year, he was runner-up to Denes Lukacs of Baylor in the ITA South Central Region singles semifinals played in Austin, Texas.
“It’s tough to play three or four matches in a row,” said Pollock who is an undefeated 10-0 in singles and doubles combined over the last three days of the tournament. “It’s a lot of tennis, but I feel like I am at my best, when I play a lot. Tomorrow, I plan to go out there and remain relaxed and keep playing like I have been.”
In consolation play, junior Marcus Lunt (San Antonio, Texas) got past Joe Hattrup of Texas Tech, 6-1, 4-6, 1-0, in the singles consolation quarterfinals, prior to falling to Javier Pulgar Garcia of Louisiana-Lafayette, 6-2, 7-6, in the semifinals. Lunt recorded a 4-2 mark throughout the four-day regional tournament.
“We have players on our team who are really battling this year,” Denton said. “We had three players in the quarterfinals of singles, which was the most of any of the teams in this tournament. It has been a dream week for us to have the tournament here and for our guys to play so well. This tournament is sort of the culmination of the fall and it has been a great success for us.”
Admission is free and open to the public at the Mitchell Tennis Center for fans who wish to attend the singles finals between Pollock and Rosa.
WILSON-ITA SOUTH CENTRAL REGION CHAMPIONSHIPS
Oct. 25-28, 2008
at George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
SINGLES MAIN DRAW
(9) Wil Spencer (Texas A&M) def. (5) Cristoph Muller (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5.
(3) Conor Pollock (Texas A&M) def. (7) Olivier Sajous (Texas), 7-6, 6-4.
(9) Raony Carvalho (Texas Tech) def. (9) Jordan Rux (Baylor), 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.
(2) Bruno Rosa (Rice) def. (9) Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M), 7-5, 6-1.
(3) Conor Pollock (Texas A&M) def. (9) Wil Spencer (Texas A&M), 7-5, 7-6 (4).
(2) Bruno Rosa (Rice) def. (9) Raony Carvalho (Texas Tech), 6-4, 6-2.
Sam Garfoth-Bles (Rice) def. Jurica Grubisic (Baylor), 6-4, 6-7, 1-0 (10-6).
Christian Rojmar (Texas Tech) def. Milos Kustudija (Texas Tech), 6-4, 7-6.
Sam Garfoth-Bles (Rice) def. Christian Rojmar (Texas Tech), 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-8).
SINGLES ROUND 2 CONSOLATION
Marcus Lunt (Texas A&M) def. Joe Hattrup (Texas Tech), 6-1, 4-6, 1-0.
Javier Pulgar Garcia (Louisiana-Lafayette) def. Stefan Hawkins (Louisiana-Lafayette), 6-3, 6-3.
Zach Nichols (TCU) def. Chong Wang (Rice), walkover (injury).
Adrian Simon (TCU) def. Yanick Mandl (Louisiana-Lafayette), 6-0, 6-3.
Javier Pulgar Garcia (Louisiana-Lafayette) def. Marcus Lunt (Texas A&M), 6-2, 7-6.
Adrian Simon (TCU) def. Zach Nichols (TCU), 1-6, 6-3, (8-9), retired.
Adrian Simon (TCU) def. Javier Pulgar Garcia (Louisiana-Lafayette), walkover (injury).
DOUBLES MAIN DRAW
(1) Krajicek-Pollock (Texas A&M) def. (4) Corrie-Wiegand (Texas), 8-5.
(5) Kutrovsky-Zavala (Texas) def. (5) Brighiu-Simon (TCU), 8-4.
(1) Krajicek-Pollock (Texas A&M) def. (5) Kutrovsky-Zavala (Texas), 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-8).
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