COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 14th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team upset its second top-five opponent of the season in fifth-ranked Kentucky, 4-0, and then coasted to a 7-0 victory against Prairie View A&M on Sunday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The Maroon and White improve to 12-5 on the season and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference play. The Wildcats of Kentucky fall to 14-4 and 2-1 in league play. Prairie View falls to 5-7 on the season.
“I thought this weekend was really big for us to get back on track in the SEC standings,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “I thought our guys handled the conditions better than they did today. I know Kentucky hasn’t played a lot of outdoor tennis. Our guys were able to make the wind their friend and that really gave us an advantage. We were pretty well prepared mentally to play both these matches. Playing at home is always a big boost for our guys.”
The Aggies got the day started off right by claiming the doubles point against the Wildcats for the fourth consecutive match. Both teams were able to hold serve through the first several games, not allowing their opponent to get a break ahead. The point would come down to whichever team broke first.
Kentucky’s 19th-ranked duo of Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai upset the 15th-ranked duo of Jackson Withrow and Junior Ore, 8-5, at the No. 1 line. Both teams held serve through the first nine games before the Wildcats were able to break the Aggies and win the final four games on their way to the victory.
With Texas A&M needing to win on the remaining two courts, the 21st-ranked tandem of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant secured the first doubles win by defeating Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka, 8-4, at the No. 2 position. The freshmen were able to gain a 2-0 advantage and never looked back as they rolled to the win.
With the early 1-0 lead on the line, leading 7-6, the sophomore pair of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo held serve, downing Anthony Rossi and Grant Roberts, 8-6, at the No. 3 slot to secure the doubles point for the Aggies.
“Obviously the doubles was key again today,” Denton said. “Luckily, we were able to squeak the win out on the No. 3 line. That was able to propel us again in singles. It seems like when we win the doubles point, it really helps us in the momentum department and once again it did today.”
Much like against Vanderbilt, the Aggies used the momentum from the doubles point to get the early advantage in singles, taking four-of-six first sets.
No. 90 Vinsant cruised to a straight-set victory, 6-1, 6-1, over Charles Minc at the No. 4 line to stake the Aggies to a 2-0 lead. Vinsant was able to build a four-game lead in the first set before dropping a game, and a five-game lead in the second set before surrendering a game. Vinsant improves to 11-4 on the season and 3-1 in conference play.
Efferding then rolled through 18th-ranked Jomby, 6-3, 6-3, to drive Texas A&M’s lead to 3-0. Efferding built three-game leads in both sets on his way to the victory. With the win, the Boca Raton native improves to 10-3 on the season as well as an undefeated 4-0 record in conference play.
“I thought Jeremy did a very good job against a very dangerous player,” Denton said. “Securing the win at the No. 2 line really helped us out today.”
Szabo wasted no time in putting the match away, defeating Juan Pablo Murra, 6-3, 6-4, at the No. 5 line. The win improves the Australian to 7-5 on the season and 1-1 in SEC play.
“This was a big win for us today,” Szabo said. “We had a bad loss last weekend and it feels good to bounce back with three really good wins this time around. Coach said if we play like we did on Friday night, we would be able to come away with the victory. I think most people rose to the challenge today. This was a great team win.”
In its second match, Texas A&M cruised to a 7-0 victory over Prairie View A&M. The Aggies won on all three doubles courts, 8-2, 8-3, 8-0, to give Texas A&M a 1-0 lead. In singles, the Maroon and White were dominant, winning in straight sets on all courts, dropping only 17 games overall. Szabo clinched his second match of the day as the Aggies improve to 3-0 on the weekend.
“We got a good opportunity to get Niall (Angus) some playing time and let us evaluate him,” Denton said on the second match. “I’ve always said I like the doubleheaders as they stretch you mentally and physically. Tonight we were able to let the guys go out there and work on some things which really benefits our team”
The Texas A&M men’s tennis team will be in action again on Wednesday when it welcomes top-ranked Virginia to the George P. Mitchell Center. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. To learn more about the men’s tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 14 Texas A&M def. No. 5 Kentucky, 4-0
No. 1 – Junior Ore, A&M vs. #21 Anthony Rossi, UK 3-6, 4-4 (unfinished)
No. 2 – Jeremy Efferding, A&M def. No. 18 Tom Jomby, UK 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 – Harry Adams, A&M vs. Alejandro Gomez, UK 6-7 (9), 2-1 (unfinished)
No. 4 – No. 90 Shane Vinsant, A&M def. Charles Minc, UK 6-1, 6-1
*No. 5 – Jordan Szabo, A&M def. Juan Pablo Murra, 6-3, 6-4
No. 6 – Behzad Minavi, A&M vs. Kevin Lai, UK 6-3, 5-2 (unfinished)
No. 1 – No. 19 Jomby/Lai, UK def. No. 15 Withrow/Ore, A&M 8-5
No. 2 – No. 21 Adams/Vinsant, A&M def. Gomez/Hirooka, UK 8-4
No. 3 – Efferding/Szabo, A&M def. Rossi/Roberts, UK 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles 1, 2, 3 Singles 4, 2, 5
*clinched the match
Texas A&M (11-5, 3-1 SEC); Kentucky (14-4, 2-2 SEC)
No. 14 Texas A&M def. Prairie View A&M, 7-0
No. 1 – Niall Angus, A&M def. Jackson Varney, PVAM 6-1, 6-3
No. 2 – Jeremy Efferding, A&M def. Karim Fotso, PVAM 6-0, 6-0
*No. 3 – No. 90 Shane Vinsant, A&M def. Craig Wiltz, PVAM 6-1, 6-0
No. 4 – Harry Adams, A&M def. Ronald Chidzikwe, PVAM 7-6 (6), 6-0
No. 5 – Behzad Minavi, A&M def. Daniel Vasquez, PVAM 6-3, 6-1
No. 6 – Jordan Szabo, A&M def. Jonathan Dingle, PVAM 6-0, 6-2
No. 1 – No. 21 Adams/Vinsant, A&M def. Varney/Wiltz, PVAM 8-2
No. 2 – Efferding/Szabo, A&M def. Chidzikwe/Fotso, PVAM 8-0
No. 3 – Minavi/Angus, A&M vs. Johnson/Gbadamosi, PVAM 8-3
Order of finish: Doubles 2, 1, 3; Singles 2, 3, 6*, 5, 1, 4
*clinched the match
Texas A&M (12-5, 3-1 SEC); Prairie View A&M (5-7)