Breler Clinches 4-3 Upset Over No. 19 Aggies
March 22, 2008
LUBBOCK, Texas - Finally pulling off a win against Texas A&M in their favor, the Texas Tech men's tennis team celebrated today at the McLeod Tennis Center as they took down the Aggies, 4-3, in their conference opener.
Doubles play set the pace for what would be an intense match-up between the Red Raiders and the Aggies. Tech's senior duo of Ilya Babinciuc and Lenoir Ramos found the first win of the day over the Aggies' Mike Beatty and Matt Bain, 8-4. On court one A&M's Austin Krajicek and Wil Spencer pulled off a 7-3 tiebreaker win over the Red Raider's No. 3-ranked Christian Rojmar and Bojan Szumanski to even the score at one all.
The fate of the doubles point rested in the hands of Tech's No. 28-ranked Michael Breler and Sinisa Markovic. After going toe-to-toe for most of the match, the duo fought off a near upset by A&M's Chris Chirico and Conor Pollock, winning 7-3 in the tiebreaker and clinching the doubles point for the Red Raiders.
The rivalry continued through to singles as Tech's Markovic continued his dominance at No. 2 by defeating the Aggies' Spencer, 6-3, 6-3. Next No. 23-ranked Conor Pollock moved in over No. 33 Szumanski at No. 1, putting Texas A&M on the scoreboard. The Aggies second point came from the No. 5 spot as Bain took down Rojmar in straight sets.
On court four Chirico had the 4-1 first-set advantage, but Babinciuc battled back winning four straight points and the set, 7-5, before moving in for the second-set victory 6-3. "Although he was down in the first set, Ilya just kept his composure as he has in these last weeks," said Head Coach Tim Siegel. "When he is on the court he is a different player because he believes in himself. It was just so big that he got the first set victory, which I feel was the turning point for him and the team in this match." The Aggies rallied back with a win at No. 3 as Austin Kryjicek defeated Tech's Ramos in a hard-fought battle, evening up the score at 3-3.
As it has become customary for the Red Raiders, the last match of the day again rested on court six as Breler and Kayvon Karimi split sets and were on serve in the third. "There are certain players that you want for the last match on, and this guy is one of them," said Siegel, who at the time was feeling a sense of déjà vu from previous year's experience in playing the Aggies. "Throughout the match I just kept reminding him that he had the edge on this guy because he has been in this situation a lot more." With Breler playing off the home court advantage, he finally found a break at five all and was on tap to serve for the win. After a series of close volleys, Breler finally hit a winner and clinched the match point for the Red Raiders for the second time this season.
"Obviously, A&M is a really good team and we always know when playing them that it is going to be a very close match," said Breler, who advances to 14-1 in singles play this spring. "When it came down to my match I was just trying to stay positive and knew I had to take some chances to win this match. The guy (Karimi) played well, but usually in matches like this I am pretty confident and today when it came down to it, I just wanted it more."
Texas A&M falls to 8-6 on the season, 0-1 in conference play, after today's loss.
"It was a really close match," commented Aggie Head Coach Steve Denton. "It's pretty tough to win four singles matches here, and they deserve to win because they came up with the good shots when the match was on the line. The last match was indicative of the whole day, which was good, quality tennis. Tech was just a little bit better and came out on top today."
Next Tech will have a short break before continuing Big 12 action on the road as they head for Oklahoma to face both the Sooners and the Cowboys in the first week of April. For more information, log on to the men's tennis page at www.texastech.com.
#21 Texas Tech - 4
Doubles: 3, 1, 2*
Singles: 2, 1, 5, 4, 3, 6*
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