OXFORD, Mississippi – The 12th-ranked and No. 4 seed Texas A&M men’s tennis team knocked off 36th-ranked and No. 12 seed Alabama, 4-1, in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center on Friday afternoon in Oxford. The Aggies advance to the semifinals to face top-seeded and second-ranked Georgia. First serve against the Bulldogs is slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“Alabama has obviously been on a roll,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “They play with a lot of confidence, as you could see in the doubles. I thought the difference of the match came in singles. We were able to win quite a few of the first sets and really stole the momentum away from them. This is a great team win for us.”
For the second time this season, Texas A&M dropped the doubles point to the Crimson Tide. Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo fell to Stuart Kenyon and Philippe Tsangarides, 8-5, at the No. 3 line to give Alabama the first doubles victory. Seconds later, the 27th-ranked pair of Harry Adams and Shane Vinsant was upset by the 34th-ranked duo of Becker O’Shaughnessey and Daniil Proskura, 8-6, at the No. 2 line to give the Crimson Tide an early 1-0 edge.
The Aggies showed no panic despite falling behind early. Texas A&M won four-of-six first sets in singles to seize the momentum from the Crimson Tide. Junior Ore, the 105th-ranked singles player in the nation, won easily in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, over Proskura from the No. 2 line to even the match at one apiece. Minutes later, 120th-ranked Adams pushed the Aggies ahead, 2-1, as he upset 107th-ranked O’Shaughnessey, 6-3, 6-2, at the No. 3 line. 81st-ranked Vinsant pushed the Maroon and White ahead, 3-1 when he ousted Tsangarides, 6-3, 6-1, from the No. 4 line. Efferding, the highest-ranked individual for the Aggies at No. 26, secured the victory when he downed 73rd-ranked Jarryd Botha, 6-3, 6-4, at the No. 1 line.
The Aggies advance to the semifinals to face second-ranked and top-seeded Georgia. The Bulldogs defeated No. 8 seed Kentucky, 4-3, in a tightly contested affair Friday evening to earn its semifinal berth. UGA is led in singles by sixth-ranked KU Singh (9-4, 9-4 No. 1), 46th-ranked Nathan Pasha (12-8, 6-0 No. 3), 53rd-ranked Ben Wagland (14-4, 6-3 No. 2) and 125th-ranked Hernus Pieters (12-6, 3-2 No. 4). Austin Smith (12-5, 3-3 No. 5) and Garrett Brasseaux (13-3, 7-2 No. 6) round out the projected singles lineup for the Bulldogs. In doubles, Georgia’s sixth-ranked duo of Wagland and Pieters (12-5, 12-5 No. 1) is the highest ranked pair on the team. The No. 23 team of Brasseaux and Pasha lead the team in victories with a 12-5 mark with a 9-4 record from the No. 2 doubles line. The tandem of Eric Diaz and Marco Nunez round out the projected doubles team for Georgia with a 3-2 record.
The winner of the match between the Aggies and Bulldogs advances to the SEC championship match to be played on Sunday at 1 p.m. To learn more about the men’s tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 12 Texas A&M def. No. 36 Alabama, 4-1
*No. 1 – No. 26 Jeremy Efferding, A&M def. No. 73 Jarryd Botha, UA 6-3, 6-4
No. 2 – No. 105 Junior Ore, A&M def. Daniil Proskura, UA 6-2, 6-2
No. 3 – No. 120 Harry Adams, A&M def. No. 107 Becker O’Shaughnessey, UA 6-3, 6-2
No. 4 – No. 81 Shane Vinsant, A&M def. Philippe Tsangarides, UA 6-3, 6-1
No. 5 – Jackson Withrow, A&M vs. David Vieyra, UA 6-7 (4), 1-1 (unfinished)
No. 6 – Behzad Minavi, A&M vs. Stuart Kenyon, UA 3-6, 6-4 (unfinished)
No. 1 – No. 7 Ore/Withrow, A&M vs. No. 13 Botha/Vieyra, UA 8-7 (unfinished)
No. 2 – No. 34 O’Shaughnessey/Proskura, UA def. No. 27 Adams/Vinsant, A&M 8-6
No. 3 – Kenyon/Tsangarides, UA def. Efferding/Szabo, A&M 8-5
Order of finish: Doubles 3, 2; Singles 2, 3, 4, 1*
*clinched the match
Texas A&M (17-11); Alabama (14-13)