COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 10th-ranked Texas A&M women’s tennis team celebrated Senior Day and capped a perfect 11-0 regular-season home slate by defeating Mississippi State, 4-0, this afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies improve to 17-5 overall, including 10-3 in Southeastern Conference matches and will finish either tied for fourth place or in sole possession of fifth place in the final league standings depending on the outcome of matches that are still in progress. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, suffer their ninth-consecutive loss to fall to 9-14 overall and 1-12 in league play.
The Aggies opened today’s match by quickly taking commanding leads at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles.
The 23rd-ranked A&M duo of Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu did not yield a game to Mississippi State’s 56th-ranked team of Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran en route to an 8-0 victory at the top of the lineup. Minutes later, the tandem of Anna Mamalat and Rutuja Bhosale clinched the doubles point, winning four consecutive games to close out an 8-2 win over Roseline Dion and Timea Guibe. The match at No. 3 doubles featuring Saska Gavrilovska and Jana McCord of A&M against MSU’s Georgiana Patrasc and Petra Ferancova went unfinished with the Bulldogs leading 5-3.
Only one game on four courts had been completed early in singles play before rain began fall, forcing nearly an hour-and-a half delay. Despite the interruption, the Aggies would continue to ride the momentum once play resumed, eventually claiming five of six first sets.
Hristov completed the perfect sweep on the afternoon. After not surrendering a game in doubles, the sophomore raced to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Dion at the No. 4 singles line to give A&M a 2-0 lead.
Gavrilovska, No. 65 in the ITA singles rankings, cruised past Perper, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 2 line to push the Aggies’ lead to 3-0. The freshman had jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and later won the final five games in the second set to secure the victory.
After posting her first conference victory on Friday night, McCord clinched the match against the Bulldogs with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Tran at the No. 6 line. The freshman used a six-game run, winning the last four of the first set and taking the first two games of the second set to propel her to the victory.
Next up of the Aggies is the SEC Championship, which will be played April 17-20 in Columbia, Mo. A&M will either be the No. 5 or No. 4 seed and will open the tournament Thursday or Friday depending on the outcome of the Vanderbilt-South Carolina match still in progress.
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 Facebook.com/AggieWomensTennis.
Texas A&M Head Coach Howard Joffe quotes
Overall thoughts on the match:
“These matches are not just one player against another. It’s the best out of seven. It takes a good performance out of everyone. I don’t know that we performed great. I don’t know that we performed poorly. We did a workman-like job of securing the doubles point at No. 1 and 2. After the rain delay, we won five of six first sets. The match at that point is very close to unlosable. The season is very long. This is the last regular season match. Our team, like every other team, is beat up and tired. I thought they prepared themselves very well on that basis. The important thing now is to go and get some rest so we can chase after the SEC Tournament next weekend.”
On the rain delay:
“The rain delay was frustrating. It just puts more mileage on these girls. The angst and focus these matches take at least two times a week for the course of four months wears on everyone. Another rain delay where you have to go through the process of warm-ups and speeches is tiring. I’m pleased with how our group acquitted themselves.
On Stefania Hristov not losing a game:
“It’s especially rare. The girl that she played is from (Canada) and is quite a good tennis player. It was a mixture of Stefania being very stingy and making very little mistakes. The young lady that she played was getting quite discouraged by the end of the second set.”
On getting off to a good start in doubles:
“We’re the higher ranked opponent so a lot of other teams can swing freely. If our kids get their nose in front, which was the case today, it takes some pressure off and they’re able to play their best tennis. That was the case today at No. 1 and 2 doubles today.”
On Cristina Stancu’s singles performance:
“It’s really unusual to play No. 1 in the SEC and go undefeated the whole year in the way she’s been winning: 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. It’s not shocking that she fell behind with the quality of opponents she’s played. It is positive to see that she hung in and was as close to being in control of that match as she could be when the clock stopped.”
No. 10 Texas A&M 4, Mississippi State 0
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
April 13, 2014
1. #8 Cristina Stancu (TAMU) vs. #66 Georgiana Patrasc (MSU), 2-6, 5-0 unfinished
2. #65 Saska Gavrilovska (TAMU) def. Alexandra Perper (MSU), 6-1, 6-2
3. Rutuja Bhosale (TAMU) vs. Timea Guibe (MSU), 6-4, 0-2 unfinished
4. Stefania Hristov (TAMU) def. Roseline Dion (MSU), 6-0, 6-0
5. #118 Anna Mamalat (TAMU) vs. Petra Ferancova (MSU), 6-3, 3-2 unfinished
6. Jana McCord (TAMU) def. Naomi Tran (MSU), 6-2, 6-2
Doubles (A&M wins the point)
1. #23 Hristov/Stancu (TAMU) def. #56 Perper/Tran (MSU), 8-0
2. Mamalat/Bhosale (TAMU) def. Dion/Guibe (MSU), 8-2
3. Gavrilovska/McCord (TAMU) vs. Patrasc/Ferancova (MSU), 3-5 unfinished
Order of finish
Singles: 4, 2, 6
Doubles: 1, 2
Texas A&M: 17-5, 10-3 SEC
Mississippi State: 9-14, 1-12 SEC