COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M senior All-American and third-seeded Conor Pollock was crowned the 2008 Wilson/ITA South Central Region singles champion after battling second-seeded Bruno Rosa of Rice in a heated two and a half hour match Tuesday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
Pollock, the Aggies’ top returning player from San Antonio, Texas, outlasted the No. 14-ranked Brazilian-born Rosa in three sets, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. He turned in an impressive 11-0 run in singles and doubles competition combined over the course of the four-day regional tournament. Down a service break in the third set, 4-1, Pollock was able to break Rosa’s serve twice and close out the match with his first career regional title.
“Conor is mentally and physically stronger this year,” said Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton on Pollock’s progression from his sophomore campaign. “He is in really good condition thanks to our strength coach Monty Gibson. I felt like the match became a real war out there and he was a little fresher at the end. When Rosa did not break serve again in the third set to go up 5-1, it really lifted Conor’s spirit.
“Down the stretch, the tennis from both players was at a really high level. It wasn’t that one guy was missing – the other guy was just winning. Conor really fought hard and was able to hit a couple of balls better at the very end which was the difference in the match.”
He becomes only the second Aggie in school history to claim an ITA regional singles title next to four-time All-American Shuon Madden who accomplished the feat twice in 1998 and 1999. A spot in the regional finals automatically qualified Pollock and Rosa, as the runner-up, for the prestigious ITA National Indoors on Nov. 6-9 on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.
Pollock, ranked No. 17 nationally in singles, automatically qualified for his second-straight ITA National Indoors appearance via the ITA All-American Championships held earlier this month in Tulsa and will also compete in indoor doubles with sophomore All-American teammate Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.). The top-seeded and fourth-ranked Aggie duo won the Wilson/ITA South Central Region doubles title on Monday night.
“Conor has shown great leadership this fall,” Denton said. “He has a long career ahead of him in tennis, if he really wants it. His determination, his grit, his confidence and his belief in himself has really shown in his game. All aspects of his game are coming together right now. He has improved his backhand and his serve is becoming more of a weapon this year. He is more aware of what his style is, how he can score points and how he can better use his weapons against opponents. The sky’s the limit for him.”
A&M will wrap-up fall tournament play this weekend at the UT Invitational on Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Austin, Texas, and next week at the ITA National Indoors.
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