FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - No. 3 Texas A&M remained undefeated in Southeastern Conference play and extended its win streak to 11 with a 6-1 victory over No. 41 Arkansas today at the Billingsly Tennis Center indoor courts.
The Aggies improve to 13-1 overall and 6-0 in the SEC, while the Razorbacks suffer their fifth consecutive loss and fall to 6-11 overall and 1-6 in conference matches.
"Our ladies acquitted themselves very well in the face of some tough challenges on the road today," A&M head coach Howard Joffe said. "The doubles point was a lot closer and more ferocious than the score line would suggest. In singles we were able to be oppressive in the sense that all six players competed fabulously."
The race for the doubles point was a hard-fought affair on all three courts. Although A&M took early leads on two courts, the Razorbacks mounted late rallies to set up for a more suspenseful outcome.
Aggie freshmen twins Ines and Paula Deheza had jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Arkansas' Ana Hernandez and Kimberley-Ann Surin at the No. 3 line, but the Razorback duo fought back and got within 4-3. A&M would win the next three games to go up, 7-3, but the Razorbacks held strong before falling 8-5 in the first match to be completed.
A&M's Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Nazari Urbina also jumped out to an early lead on Court 2 and held off a late surge by the Razorbacks to win 8-5. The Aggie pair built a 5-1 advantage to begin the match, but Arkansas' Brittany Huxley and Yang Pang got within 6-4 and 7-5. A&M held triple match point, and the Razorbacks got within 40-30 before Arkansas hit long to end the match and give A&M a 1-0 lead.
In a contest between ranked opponents, A&M's No. 9 team of freshman Stefania Hristov and junior Cristina Stancu had its hands full with Arkansas' 59th-ranked tandem of Segou Jonker and Claudine Paulson at the No. 1 line. A&M built its largest lead at 7-5, but Arkansas immediately broke back to get within, 7-6. A&M was at match point in the following game, but the Razorbacks came back to win the game and even the match at 7-7. Both teams held serve as the score was tied at 8-8 when the doubles point was decided and the match was stopped.
The Aggies came out strong in singles, winning the first set on five of six courts. Hristov made quick work of Hernandez and gave the Aggies a 2-0 lead after racing to a 6-1, 6-1 victory to improve to 8-0 at the No. 6 line. Hristov's match was completed just as only the opening game was decided at the No. 1 court, where Arkansas' 68th-ranked Pang finally won the first game against sixth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar.
Sun would give the Aggies a 3-0 lead with a win at the No. 5 line. She and Flavia Araujo were tied at 2-2 in the opening set before Sun won four consecutive games to win, 6-4. Sun also won the first two games of the second set before Araujo got on the scoreboard. It would be Araujo's only game of the second set as Sun won the next four games to close out the 6-2, 6-1 victory.
Urbina had a similar scoring line at the No. 3 court, winning four consecutive games to break away from a 2-2 tie and take the opening set, 6-2, against Sarah McLean. Urbina held a 3-2 edge in the second set before reeling off three consecutive games to win 6-2, 6-2. The win clinched the team victory for the Aggies, and Urbina improved to 6-0 in SEC matches. It also marked Urbina's 93rd career victory, moving her into sole possession of fifth place in the A&M record books.
Paulson, ranked 93rd, prevented an Aggie shutout and put the Razorbacks on the scoreboard after snapping Stancu's five-match win streak at the No. 2 line. Paulson won the first set, 6-1, but Stancu, ranked 62nd, earned a split by taking the second set, 6-2. With the overall match already determine, the two played a 10-point tiebreaker to determine the victor. Paulson won the first two points and held the lead throughout the tiebreaker en route to a 10-5 victory.
After dropping her first game, Sanchez-Quintanar won five straight to build a commanding 5-1 lead over Pang in the first set. The All-American went on to win the set 6-2. Sanchez-Quintanar then held a narrow 4-3 lead in the second set before winning two games to close out her match and account for the final 6-1 team score.
A&M wraps up a five-match SEC road swing on Friday, taking on the Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Mo. First serve is slated for 5 p.m. at the Green Tennis Center.
"The Aggies are playing quite well for this stage in the season, but we will need to continue to improve as we get closer to the postseason," Joffe concluded.
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: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654
No. 3 Texas A&M 6, No. 41 Arkansas 1
March 17, 2013
Billingsley Tennis Center
1. #6 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. #68 Yang Pang (ARK), 6-2, 6-3
2. #93 Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. #62 Cristina Stancu (TAMU), 6-1, 2-6, 1-0 (5)
3. #43 Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. Sarah McLean (ARK), 6-2, 6-2
4. Ines Deheza (TAMU) def. Kimberley-Ann Surin (ARK), 6-3, 7-5
5. Wen Sun (TAMU) def. Flavia Araujo (ARK), 6-2, 6-1
6. Stefania Hristov (TAMU) def. Ana Hernandez (ARK), 6-1, 6-1
Doubles (Texas A&M wins the point)
1. #9 Hristov/Stancu (TAMU) vs. #59 Segou Jonker/Paulson (ARK), 8-8 unfinished
2. Sanchez-Quintanar/Urbina (TAMU) def. Brittany Huxley/Pang (ARK), 8-5
3. I. Deheza/Paula Deheza (TAMU) def. Hernandez/Surin (ARK), 8-5
Order of finish
Doubles: 3, 2
Singles: 6, 5, 3*, 2, 4, 1
Texas A&M: 13-1, 6-0 SEC
Arkansas: 6-10, 1-5 SEC