The No. 12-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team got back to its winning ways by holding off Nebraska, 5-2, in a four-hour dual match held Friday night at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
The Aggies (13-6, 4-1) successfully won the doubles point against the Cornhuskers (16-7, 0-4), a factor that had eluded them over the last four consecutive matches including three in a row in Big 12 Conference action. Tied up at 6-all at the No. 3 line, sophomore Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.) and freshman Austin Klores (Franklin, Texas) went up a break against Nebraska’s Hendrik Stahmer and Francois Van Impe and closed it out on Spencer’s second serve and Klores’ return for the winner. It marked the first time this season the two underclassmen had paired up in a match.
Meanwhile, the third-ranked All-American doubles tandem of senior Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) and sophomore Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) snapped a three-match skid in league play at the top of the lineup with a convincing 8-4 victory over NU’s Christopher Aumueller and Benedikt Lindheim.
“We are doing a better job of moving, attacking and poaching,” said Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton on doubles play. “It was one of the things that we were missing the last four or five matches. We talked about taking more chances and being more aggressive and it paid off for us in that last point to win the match. (Austin) Klores poached on a second serve, the guy hit a great return, but Klores was there to put it away.”
A&M went up 2-0 as Conor Pollock quickly served up a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Nebraska’s top player David Bendheim at No. 1 singles. It took another 45 minutes for the Aggies to get their third point on the board as sophomore Alexey Grigorov (Moscow, Russia) claimed his second-straight match win at No. 4 with a 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1 decision over Benedikt Lindheim who had to take several breaks in the three-setter to be tended to by the A&M athletic training staff due to cramps.
Another half an hour later, Austin Krajicek clinched the match winning in three sets for the Aggies, who have now won eight of their last nine and are currently in second place in the league standings with a 4-1 mark behind Baylor (4-0) and ahead of rival Texas (3-1). Krajicek rallied to a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory over Christopher Aumueller at No. 2.
“That’s how they like to play,” said Denton on the lengthy match against the Huskers. “We needed that doubles point tonight, because I knew they would be tough in singles. They have a bunch of runners on their team that make it to a lot of balls. We have slow courts and it was a little windy tonight which makes for longer matches. Our guys did a good job of fighting. We got three points on the board pretty quickly and then had a hard time finding that fourth point. I was pleased that we were able to get through this match and get back on our winning ways. Our guys really did a good job of bouncing back from a tough, emotional match on Wednesday night at Baylor.”
A&M will have a two-day break from the action over the university holiday, but will turnaround and host a non-conference matchup against No. 40 Rice (13-9) on Monday, April 13 at 6 p.m. (CT) at the Mitchell Tennis Center.