COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The sixth-ranked Texas A&M women’s tennis team returns to action Wednesday as the Aggies play host to former Big 12 Conference foe and 24-ranked Baylor. First serve is slated for 4 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies, whose No. 6 ranking is the highest in program history, are 5-1 following three consecutive victories against Top 15 opponents. A&M has not played since defeating No. 13 Michigan, 4-3, on Feb. 16, in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Aggies are playing at home for the first time since Jan. 27, when they defeated No. 30 Arizona to qualify for the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. A&M was scheduled to host Sam Houston State on Monday, but the match was canceled because of strong winds.
Baylor is 4-7 overall, including 1-7 against Top 25 opponents. The Bears slipped five spots to No. 24 in the ITA’s first computer-generated rankings of the year following loses in seven of their last eight matches, including a 4-1 loss at No. 9 Northwestern on Sunday in their most recent outing.
Individually, A&M’s Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar is ranked No. 6 in singles with a perfect 5-0 record at the No. 1 court. The All-American is 24-3 overall, including 13-1 against ranked opponents. Senior Nazari Urbina, who is 1-1 at third singles, and junior Cristina Stancu, 4-1 at the No. 2 court, join Sanchez-Quintanar in the national singles rankings at No. 67 and No. 83, respectively.
Two-time SEC freshman of the week honoree Stefania Hristov has been instrumental for the Aggies in the lower half of the lineup and is 5-0 at the No. 6 line, including a come-from-behind victory to clinch the winning point against the Wolverines.
Hristov and Stancu lead A&M in doubles with a No. 11 national ranking and a 4-2 mark at the No. 1 court. Meanwhile, freshmen twins Ines and Paula Deheza have come on strong in doubles, winning each of their last three matches to improve to 3-1 at the No. 3 line.
Baylor is led by sophomore Ema Burgic, who is No. 12 in singles and No. 24 in doubles with partner Victoria Kisialeva. Burgic earned the Bears’ only point in the loss at Northwestern with a 6-1, 6-2 victory against No. 41 Kate Turvy to improve to 8-3 at No. 1 singles. She also improved to 11-4 against nationally ranked opponents.
Burgic and Kisialeva are 4-1 at No. 1 doubles.
A&M holds a narrow 21-20 edge in the all-time series which began in 1980, but Baylor has dominated the series as of late, having won 13 of the last 14 matches dating back to 2005. The Aggies ended Baylor’s winning streak in the last meeting, upsetting the 12th-ranked Bears, 4-3, in the semifinals of the 2012 Big 12 Tournament in College Station as Urbina came from a set down to defeat 22nd-ranked Nina Secerbegovic of Baylor 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the last match standing to clinch the victory.
Wednesday’s match against the Bears is A&M’s last non-conference match before hosting No. 43 South Carolina Friday at 5 p.m. in the Aggies’ first-ever SEC match. The Aggies, who are picked to win the SEC Western Division, close out their three-match home stand with a meeting against fourth-ranked and defending national and SEC-champion Florida on Sunday, March 3 at noon.
Season and individual match tickets can be purchased online anytime at 12thManFoundation.com or during business hours at the Athletic Ticket Office located in The Zone at Kyle Field or by calling the ticket office at 1-888-99-AGGIE or 979-845-2311. Tickets also will be available for purchase on game days at the Mitchell Tennis Center beginning one hour before match time.
Visit AggieAthletics.com for more information on Texas A&M women’s tennis. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M women’s tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654
Wednesday, Feb. 27 vs. No. 24 Baylor, 4 p.m. (Mitchell Tennis Center)
Friday, March 1 vs. No. 43 South Carolina, 5 p.m. (Mitchell Tennis Center)
Sunday, March 3 vs. No. 4 Florida, 12 p.m. (Mitchell Tennis Center)