No. 7 Texas A&M Makes History with 4-3 Victory Over No. 3 UNC
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 7 Texas A&M women’s tennis team came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat No. 3 North Carolina, 4-3, today and record the highest ranked win in school history.
Freshman Saska Gavrilovska (pronounced saush-ka gav-ril-ov-ska) led the comeback charge and pulled off what is believed to be the highest ranked singles win in program history. The Serbian put the Aggies within 3-2, fighting off two match points and coming through with a heroic 0-6, 6-2, 1-0 (12-10) victory against fifth-ranked Hayley Carter at No. 2 singles. Gavrilovska had lost the first two points of the tiebreaker, and although she never trailed by more than two points, she didn’t take her first lead until 11-10 and then finished the match on the next play.
Another Aggie freshman, Rutuja Bhosale, then knotted the team score at 3-3 as she finished off Tessa Lyons, 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 6 line.
The match came down to the last match standing where Aggie sophomore Ines Deheza, who last year sent the Aggies to the NCAA Championship finals with a crucial last-match-standing three-set victory against UCLA in the semifinals, had come back to force a third set. Deheza had lost her first set, 6-4, to No. 118 Ashley Dai, but won four consecutive games to close out a 6-2 win in the second set. With the ITA experimental scoring rules in effect, the two played a 10-point tiebreaker for the third set. Deheza never trailed, taking her largest lead at 5-2. Dai came back to tie the score at 5-all, but Deheza scored the next three points. Deheza went on to hold a 9-6 advantage when Dai double faulted at match point.
UNC, fielding three nationally ranked doubles teams, began the match by narrowly pulling away at the No. 3 and 2 doubles courts to take a 1-0 lead. At the No. 3 line, the Tar Heels’ 42nd ranked duo of Laura Slater and Kate Vialle when up a break at 4-2, but Gavrilovska and partner Anna Mamalat broke back to put the match on serve with UNC holding a 4-3 lead. Neither side was able to hold serve for the remainder of the contest, and the Tar Heels took the match, 6-4.
At the No. 2 line, UNC’s 12th-ranked duo of Carter and Jamie Loeb won the first four games against Bhosale and Deheza before the Aggie tandem won the next three games to get within 4-3. UNC then won the next two games with Loeb serving an ace to close out the match and clinch the doubles point for the Tar Heels.
In a match between ranked opponents, A&M’s 22nd-ranked pair of Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu held a 5-3 lead against No. 10 Whitney Kay and Caroline Price at the No. 1 line, but the match went unfinished once the doubles point was determined.
UNC built a 2-0 lead as Price began singles with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Mamalat at the No. 3 line. Hristov then put the Aggies on the scoreboard as she cruised to a convincing 6-1, 6-0 victory over Vialle at the No. 5 line.
The Tar Heels, who won the first set on four courts, took a 3-1 lead as Loeb, ranked No. 2 in the nation in singles, downed 14th-ranked Stancu, 6-1, 6-0. It would be the final point for the Tar Heels as Gavrilovska began to give the Aggies the momentum.
The Aggies, who last year stunned then-two-time defending national champion and fourth-ranked Florida, 4-3, to post what was then the program’s highest ranked win, improve to 3-0, while UNC drops its first match and falls to 4-1.
Both teams now head to the 16-team ITA National Indoor Championship, to be held Feb. 7-10, in Charlottesville, Va. The bracket will be announced Wednesday on ITATennis.com.
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.
No. 24 men’s tennis earns 6-1 victory against UAB
AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn men’s tennis team swept all six singles matches as the Tigers defeated UAB, 6-1, on Tuesday in an indoor match at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
The No. 24 Tigers (7-1) rallied after dropping the doubles point to UAB (1-2) to pick up wins in all six singles match, including a pair of three-setters by Lukas Ollert and Oliver Plaskett.
“I thought we did a poor job in doubles of having energy and (UAB) did a great job. They played well and we didn’t meet that early on, but we came out in singles and played well,” Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. “Joseph Van Dooren and Dennis Lengsfeld really got us going. We found a way tonight, but it’s got to be better going forward.”
In doubles, UAB’s Chris Helliar and Mitchell Martell took down Auburn’s Oliver Plaskett and Petar Tomic, 6-2 on court two. The Tigers made it one-match all as the pair of No. 37 Dennis Lengsfeld and Lukas Ollert claimed a 6-4 win on court 1.
The Tigers dropped the doubles point on court 3 as UAB’s Luis Felipe Pinto and Rafael Rondino defeated Auburn’s Dante Saleh and Van Dooren, 6-3.
Auburn’s climb back began as Van Dooren tied the match at 1-1 with a 6-0, 6-4 on court 5. The Tigers began to pick up the momentum and took the lead as Lengsfeld posted a 6-2, 6-2 win over Rafael Rondino on court two. Tomic came up with a 6-1, 6-4 win against UAB’s Lucas Dirube to put Auburn within one point from clinching the match.
No. 89 Saleh provided the clinching point with a 6-2, 6-5 (5) victory over Donovan McSeveney. With the victory secure, Auburn capped off the night with a pair of three-set wins as Plaskett battled back to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 on court 5. Ollert rebounded from a first-set loss in a tiebreaker and rallied to win on court one, recording a 5-6 (3), 6-3, 6-0 victory over No. 88 Chris Helliar.
The Tigers hit the road and travel to Ft. Myers, Fla., to take on Florida Gulf Coast on Friday at 5 p.m. Auburn hits the road for three straight matches before playing in the Blue-Grey Tournament in Montgomery, Ala., starting Feb. 21.
For complete coverage on the Auburn men's tennis team, visit AuburnTigers.com, follow @MensTennisAU on Twitter and `like' the Auburn Men's Tennis page on Facebook.