Georgia came into Saturday’s match at Texas A&M with an undefeated conference record but a few hours later they’d be undefeated no more as Texas A&M played a tremendous match and came away with the win and the top seed in the SEC Tournament. Georgia was 16-5 in doubles coming into the match while Texas A&M was just 9-13 but it’d be the Aggies that’d get off to the quick start by picking up breaks at No. 1 and No. 2.
Texas A&M’s AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead at No. 1 doubles against the ITA No. 2 team of Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb and they refused to let Georgia get back in the match. Texas A&M’s Jordi Arconada and Hady Habib went up an early break at No. 2 however Georgia’s Paul Oosterbaan and Nathan Ponwith would break back to even it at 2-2. Arconada and Habib returned the favor and broke for 3-2, Habib held for 4-2, and then A&M broke again via a Ponwith double fault for 5-2. Over at No. 3, it stayed on serve until Georgia’s Wayne Montgomery and Walker Duncan broke Max Lunkin to go ahead 5-3.
All three doubles matches would finish within seconds of each other with Duncan serving it out on 3 for a 6-3 win, Arconada serving it out on 2 for a 6-2 win, and lastly Rindeknech serving it out on 1 for a 6-3 win. This clip has has the clincher at No. 3 and No. 2 and then down below is the clincher at No. 1.
Here is the doubles clincher for Texas A&M on 1 – Rinderknech with the serve and Catanzariti with the put away. pic.twitter.com/VasAgGqYyK
— Bobby Knight (@College10s2day) April 15, 2017
Texas A&M would use the momentum from the doubles point and jump on Georgia in singles. Arthur Rinderknech and AJ Catanzariti won their first sets 6-0 and 6-1 at No. 1 and No. 3 while Valentin Vacherot and Aleksandre Bakshi picked up 6-3 and 6-4 sets at No. 4 and No. 6.
Valentin Vacherot would be the first to finish with a convincing straight set win over Jan Zielinski at No. 4. Vacherot broke Zielinski on the no-ad point for 4-2 in the first and then he fought off two break points to hold on the no-ad point for 5-2. Zielinski held for 3-5 but that’d be the last game he’d win as Vacherot served out the set at love and then put up a second set bagel to win 6-3, 6-0.
Aleksandre Bakshi would extend the lead to 3-0 after defeating Robert Loeb in straight sets at No. 6. Loeb jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set but Bakshi reeled off five straight games to take the set 6-4. In that five game stretch Bakshi won 16 of 20 points including 9 in a row at one point. There weren’t many break opportunities in the second set with Loeb’s best chance coming when he went up 30/40 on Bakshi’s 3-4 service game but the Aggie sophomore from Georgia (the country not the state) held on the no-ad point for 4-4. Bakshi earned the only break of the set in the next game when he broke Loeb from 15/40 to go up 5-4 and then he served it out from 40/30 to win 6-4, 6-4.
Texas A&M junior Arthur Rinderknech would get the clincher at No. 1 but it didn’t come quite as easy as he’d hoped. The junior from Paris was serving up 6-0, 5-0 (40/15) but Georgia freshman Nathan Ponwith broke, held, broke, and held to pull within 5-4. Rinderknech would serve it out on his third attempt with a hold from 40/30 to win it 6-0, 6-4
— Aggie Men’s Tennis (@AggieMTEN) April 15, 2017
Each of the remaining matches was played out since Georgia was flying back on a private plane and the Bulldogs would pick up wins from Emil Reinberg and Walker Duncan while Texas A&M added a fifth point from Jordi Arconada. This link has some highlights that the local NBC station shot and below are some clips that I shot during the match (most are game points/breaks points).
#10 Texas A&M 5, #11 Georgia 2
Apr 15, 2017 at College Station, TX (George P Mitchell Tennis Center)
1. #8 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #60 Nathan Ponwith (UGA) 6-0, 6-4
2. #66 Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. #32 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
3. #61 Emil Reinberg (UGA) def. AJ Catanzariti (TAMU) 1-6, 6-3, 6-3
4. Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) def. Jan Zielinski (UGA) 6-3, 6-0
5. Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Hady Habib (TAMU) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6)
6. Aleksandre Bakshi (TAMU) def. Robert Loeb (UGA) 6-4, 6-4
1. #39 AJ Catanzariti/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #2 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (UGA) 6-3
2. Jordi Arconada/Hady Habib (TAMU) def. Paul Oosterbaan/Nathan Ponwith (UGA) 6-2
3. Wayne Montgomery/Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Aleksandre Bakshi/Max Lunkin (TAMU) 6-3
Georgia 15-7, 11-1; National ranking #11
Texas A&M 18-5, 11-1; National ranking #10
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,6,1,3,2,5)
Quotes from TAMU’s recap
Steve Denton, Texas A&M men’s tennis head coach – About the match…“It’s a great win for us our guys played really well. It’s an honor to play Georgia they are a great team and for us to come out here and to play like we played today I’m just so happy for our seniors and happy for the guys, how hard they’ve worked. They have bought in to not focusing on too many goals but just outworking our opponents and it paid off today. They are the standard in the SEC and have been for a long time and for us to come out here and play like we played and believe like we believed today it was a great victory for us.”
On the doubles point…“Our guys came out with a lot of energy and we’ve been talking about that. That is what that doubles is really about. We are playing a sprint, its one set and that energy really makes a difference and we were able to jump on top of them and we had great help from the 12th Man today and we fed off that energy and our guys played even better than I had hoped they’d play in the and obviously that relaxed us and got us off on the start we needed.”
On the lineup…“It’s always a work in progress, but obviously the guys played pretty solid today. We were in all three of those doubles matches today. We had chances at three doubles the first game to break and lost a couple of points and we got up on them at one and two. You don’t want to change a winning hand too much and our guys came out very energetic and really wanting this match today and it was evident by how we started in the doubles.”
On the singles matches…“Arthur and Val set the tone for us winning their first sets and jumping on their guys early in the second and putting us in a good situation. From there psychologically it’s tough on the other team knowing that we are close to being up 3-0 and they have a long way of coming back. With the heart that Georgia has, they made it a match obviously and it was not easy for us to close this out. The match was a lot closer than the score indicated. Our guys got off to great starts and were able to hold those leads and the momentum on our side and fed off the crowd and the rest was just a team victory.”
Quotes from UGA’s recap
“We are obviously disappointed in the outcome today, but I am still proud of how this team has matured all season long,” head coach Manuel Diaz. “We played some really tough teams this season and ran into a really good Texas A&M squad today. Now, we just need to rest up and get ready for postseason play, which begins with the SEC Tournament.”
— Harvard Men’s Tennis (@HMTofficial) April 15, 2017
Harvard pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the day when the Crimson knocked off No. 20 Columbia 4-2. Columbia came into the day riding a 28-match Ivy League winning streak that dated back to April 13, 2013, but Harvard would put the first point on the board with a come from behind win at No. 3 and a tiebreak win in the decider at No. 1. Columbia’s Shawn Hadavi and Jackie Tang came back from a break down to win 6-4 at No. 2 and Christopher Grant and Michal Rolski were serving for the match at No. 3 up 5-3 but Harvard’s Christopher Morrow and Logan Weber broke, held, broke, and held to win 7-5. Harvard’s Brian Yeung and Kenny Tao clinched the doubles point with a 7-6 (4) win at No. 1 over Columbia’s Richard and Victor Pham.
Columbia went ahead 2-1 after Shawn Hadavi and Timothy Wang won in straight sets at No. 1 and No. 6 but Harvard’s Kenny Tao tied it up with a straight set win at No. 2. Harvard’s Andy Zhou had a 6-2, 5-3 lead at No. 5 but Columbia’s William Matheson held and then broke to even it at 5-5. Zhou would break back and then serve it out for a 6-2, 7-5 win which put the Crimson just a point away from the upset.
Harvard junior Jean Thirouin would go ahead 5-2 in the third at No. 3 however Columbia’s Jackie Wang would break and hold for 5-4. Thirouin would serve it out on a long point to clinch the win.
75 second match point!!!! Another day in the office!!! pic.twitter.com/7LTvo9p6z9
— Harvard Men’s Tennis (@HMTofficial) April 15, 2017
April 15, 2017 at Cambridge, Mass (Beren Tennis Center)
1) Yeung/Tao (Harvard) def. Pham/Pham (Columbia), 7-6 (7-4)
2) Hadavi/Tang (Columbia) def. Thirouin/Beltrame (Harvard), 6-4
3) Morrow/Weber (Harvard) def. Grant/Rolski (Columbia), 7-5
1) Shawn Hadavi (Columbia) def. Sebastian Beltrame (Harvard), 6-4, 6-0
2) Kenny Tao (Harvard) def. Victor Pham (Columbia), 6-1, 6-4
3) Jean Thirouin (Harvard) def. Jackie Tang, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
4) Brian Yeung (Harvard) vs. Alex Keyser (Columbia), 6-7, DNF
5) Andy Zhou (Harvard) def. William Matheson (Columbia), 6-2, 7-5
6) Timothy Wang (Columbia) def. Christopher Morrow (Harvard), 6-0, 6-2
Quotes from Harvard’s recap
“It was a great all-around win today,” said associate head coach Andrew Rueb. “Columbia is a fantastic team and we had to bring our best. It was a great atmosphere for a college tennis match and a beautiful day at Beren.”
“The guys have been focused on the process and getting better each day,” Rueb said. “They will need the same focus for a top notch Cornell team tomorrow.”
Hokies upset No. 18 Georgia Tech, 4-3: Kros with win on six to push Hokies to win https://t.co/PJzWQRNMhy
— VT Men’s Tennis (@VT_MTennis) April 15, 2017
The other big upset of the day took place in Blacksburg as Virginia Tech stunned No. 18 Georgia Tech 4-3. Virginia Tech took the doubles point with close wins at No. 2 and No. 3 but Georgia Tech fought back in singles and took five first sets despite it’s No. 2 singles player Andrew Li missing the match. Chris Eubanks and Daniel Yun closed out their matches at No. 1 and No. 5 in straight sets but Virginia Tech’s Mitch Harper did the same at No. 2.
Virginia Tech’s Henrik Korsgaard put the Hokies in front 3-2 with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 4 but Georgia Tech’s Carlos Divar would answer with a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 3.
Virginia Tech’s Jason Kros went up 2-0 in the third set of the decider at No. 6 but the skies opened up and the rain forced play to move indoors. Once play resumed, Georgia Tech’s Chris Yun got it back on serve at 3-3 and then he’d break again to go up 5-4. Kros fought back and broke for 5-5, then he held for 6-5, and broke once more to close it out 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.
Jason Kros clinches the match!! pic.twitter.com/bkSldhm3Ut
— Virginia Tech Tennis (@vttennis) April 15, 2017
Virginia Tech 4, #18 Georgia Tech 3
Apr 15, 2017 at Blacksburg, Va. (Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center)
1. #5 Christopher Eubanks (GT) def. #114 Jai Corbett (VT) 6-1, 6-4
2. Mitch Harper (VT) def. Carlos Benito (GT) 6-1, 6-4
3. Carlos Divar (GT) def. Alexandre Ribeiro (VT) 7-5, 6-4
4. Henrik Korsgaard (VT) def. Cole Fiegel (GT) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. Daniel Yun (GT) def. Freddy Mesmer (VT) 6-3, 6-1
6. Jason Kros (VT) def. Chris Yun (GT) 1-6, 7-5, 7-5
1. Christopher Eubanks/Carlos Benito (GT) def. #60 Jai Corbett/Henrik Korsgaard (VT) 7-5
2. Mitch Harper/Alexandre Ribeiro (VT) def. Cole Fiegel/Daniel Yun (GT) 7-6 (7-4)
3. Jason Kros/Freddy Mesmer (VT) def. Carlos Divar/Michael Kay (GT) 7-5
Georgia Tech 15-5 (7-3 ACC); National ranking #18
Virginia Tech 10-11 (4-6 ACC)
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (5,2,1,4,3,6)
Illinois welcomed Aron Hiltzik back into the fold after missing the last three weeks with a foot injury and his return paid immediate dividends as the Illini went to Ann Arbor and upset No. 14 Michigan 4-2. Michigan won the doubles point with ease but Illinois clawed its way back in the match by taking four opening sets in singles.
Aleks Vukic and Noe Khlif won in straight sets for Illinois at No. 1 and No. 5 while Michigan’s Carter Lin won in straight sets at No. 6. Illinois freshman Aleks Kovacevic came back from a set down to win 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 and then Aron Hiltzik clinched the match with a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 win at No. 2.
#28 Illinois 4, #14 Michigan 2
April 15, 2017 at Ann Arbor, Mich (Varsity Tennis Center)
Doubles-Order of Finish: 1, 2*
1. #17 Malik/Johnston (UM) def. Hiltzik/Vukic (Illinois) 6-1
2. Hua/Knight (UM) def. Jesse/Kovacevic (Illinois) 6-2
3. Clark/Gomes (Illinois) vs. Schalet/Wong (UM) 3-5, unf.
Singles- 1, 6, 5, 4, 2*
1. #6 Aleks Vukic (Illinois) def. #69 Jathan Malik (UM) 6-2, 6-2
2. #31 Aron Hiltzik (Illinois) def. Alex Knight (UM) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
3. Gui Gomes (Illinois) vs. #92 Myles Schalet (UM) 7-6(6), 3-6, 5-5, unf.
4. Aleks Kovacevic (Illinois) def. Runhao Hua (UM) 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3
5. Noe Khlif (Illinois) def. Kevin Wong (UM) 6-2, 6-2
6. Carter Lin (UM) def. Zeke Clark (Illinois) 6-2, 6-3
Head Coach Brad Dancer’s Thoughts via Illinois’s Recap
“It’s always tough to get road wins in the Big Ten, so we take those and move on.
Michigan dismantled us in doubles. There is really nothing left to say about that. In singles, we had some guys stay very focused today (Aleks Vukic and Noe Khlif) and that helped put up a quick two points. That gave a bit of breathing room for the other guys and Kova [Aleks Kovacevic] turned his match around with a gritty performance. I am proud of Aron [Hiltzik] for continuing to give himself a chance when he was nowhere his best. That match was all mental for him today and he gutted one out for the team.
The guys on the team want to say a huge thanks to all the fans and supporters that came out. Made it feel like a home match on the road. THANK YOU. On to Sparty”
— TCU Women’s Tennis (@TCUWomensTennis) April 15, 2017
For the third straight year TCU knocked off a top 15 team after the Horned Frogs took out No. 7 Texas Tech 4-1. TCU claimed the doubles point with lopsided wins at No. 1 and No. 3 and then the teams split opening sets in singles. TCU picked up straight set wins from Aleksandra Zenovka and Caroline Wegner at No. 3 and No. 6 to go ahead 3-0 before Texas Tech got on the board with a straight set win from Gabriela Talaba at No. 1.
Texas Tech was up at No. 2 and No. 5 was even in a third set but TCU’s Donika Bashota would clinch the match with a straight set win at No. 4.
#31 TCU 4, #7 Texas Tech 1
Apr 15, 2017 at Fort Worth, Texas (Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center)
1. #10 Gabriela Talaba (TTU) def. #69 Seda Arantekin (TCU) 6-3, 6-3
2. Sofiko Kadzhaya (TCU) vs. #55 Felicity Maltby (TTU) 4-6, 6-5, unfinished
3. Aleksandra Zenovka (TCU) def. #120 Alex Valenstein (TTU) 6-4, 6-2
4. Donika Bashota (TCU) def. Sarah Dvorak (TTU) 6-4, 6-3
5. Marie Norris (TCU) vs. Sabrina Federici (TTU) 4-6, 6-1, 1-1, unfinished
6. Caroline Wegner (TCU) def. Katelyn Jackson (TTU) 6-2, 6-2
1. #38 Seda Arantekin/Olaya Garrido-Rivas (TCU) def. #28 Sabrina Federici/Sarah Dvorak (TTU) 6-2
2. Caroline Wegner/Donika Bashota (TCU) vs. #68 Gabriela Talaba/Felicity Maltby (TTU) 3-3, unfinished
3. Sofiko Kadzhaya/Alexis Pereira (TCU) def. Alex Valenstein/Alba Cortina-Pou (TTU) 6-1
Texas Tech 20-4, 8-1 Big 12; National ranking #7
TCU 13-7, 5-3 Big 12; National ranking #31
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,3,1,4)
Post-Match Quotes from TCU head coach Lee Taylor Walker
“Today was for the seniors. There are not a lot of words that can really capture today. In terms of tennis, it does a lot for us but really it is just all about the seniors. The relationships, the ups and downs, the sticking together and persevering through it all. This is what means so much about today. Seda (Arantekin), Sofiko (Kadzhaya), Caroline (Wegner) and Olaya (Garrido-Rivas)- this was for them. I’m a very lucky and proud coach!”
— Drake Men’s Tennis (@Drake_MTEN) April 15, 2017
Drake wrapped up its 10th Missouri Valley regular season championship with a 4-3 win on the road over Wichita State. Drake took the doubles point and got straight set wins from Vinny Gillespie and Tom Hands while Wichita State countered with straight set wins from Marius Frosa, Jocelyn Devilliers, and Murkel Dellien. The only match to go three sets would be the decider and it’d be Drake’s Bayo Philips that would pick up a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win to clinch the title.
Drake MVC reg season CHAMPS. Bayo’s champ clinching point. pic.twitter.com/poCtSvuviF
— Drake Men’s Tennis (@Drake_MTEN) April 15, 2017
Drake 4, Wichita State 3
4/15/2017 at Wichita, Kan. (Genesis Health Club)
1. #84 Vinny Gillespie (DUM) def. #92 Haru Inoue (WSU) 7-5, 6-3
2. Marius Frosa (WSU) def. Ben Stride (DUM) 7-6 (8-6), 6-1
3. Bayo Philips (DUM) def. Miroslav Herzan (WSU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
4. Jocelyn Devilliers (WSU) def. Calum MacGeoch (DUM) 6-4, 6-1
5. Tom Hands (DUM) def. Eddie Stoica (WSU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Murkel Dellien (WSU) def. Barny Thorold (DUM) 6-0, 6-1
1. Bayo Philips/Barny Thorold (DUM) def. Jocelyn Devilliers/Eddie Stoica (WSU) 6-3
2. Haru Inoue/Miroslav Herzan (WSU) vs. Vinny Gillespie/Tom Hands (DUM) 4-5, unfinished
3. Ben Stride/Ben Wood (DUM) def. Murkel Dellien/Marius Frosa (WSU) 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (4,6,5,1,2,3)