©Colette Lewis 2009--
College Station, TX--
The final two round of 16 matches were 4-1 affairs, with No. 2 Ole Miss and No. 7 UCLA advancing, but the atmosphere couldn't have been more different.
UCLA's 4-1 win over Miami, played in the calm of the south six courts, was decided in a tiebreaker, when Bruin Holden Seguso defeated Keith Crowley 6-1, 7-6(7) at No. 4 singles. With the Bruins taking five of the first six sets, it was not really a matter if, but when.
In the more raucous north stands, the Aggie fans were out in full force, and when Conor Pollock at No. 1, Austin Krajicek at No. 2 and Wil Spencer at No. 3 took their first sets, it seemed a possibliity that the upset could happen for their No. 15 ranked team. But Ole Miss's Kalle Norberg at No. 3 and Devin Britton at No. 2 took second sets, and when the Rebels took the No. 5 and 6 points in straight sets, the Aggies needed to win the last three matches on the courts.
It was a familiar rivalry on court 2 and Britton said he and Krajicek had joked about going 7-6 in the third before they took the court. Roommates at the Bollettieri academy for several years, the two had played countless times, and the last time, at the Luxilon Cup in 2007, it was indeed 7-6 in the third, with Britton winning that match.
Thursday night, there were two breaks, one in each set, with Krajicek winning the first 6-4 and Britton the second 6-3. There were no breaks in the third, but at 5-6, Britton was down 15-40, two match points. Although his teammates were each up a break in their third sets, he played as if he were the last match on, saving both break points, one with a service winner and then a serve-and-volley winner. Taking the game with an ace, Britton got to the tiebreaker, and he had a 5-1 lead in no time, elevating his already high level in those final few points.
Billy Chadwick called his freshman star one of the best, if not the best freshmen in the country, and said that he was the reason the Rebels have risen to No. 2 in the country.
Texas A & M coach Steven Denton said that he thought the Aggies needed to win the doubles point when they had a chance, because beating a team as good as Ole Miss is difficult when you're down to start the singles.
Denton also said that Ole Miss was on a roll, and came into College Station with a chip on their shoulder, which may have helped them.
Chadwick more or less agreed, saying that playing in the heat of Baton Rouge last weekend had prepared them better for what they faced tonight.
For complete results, see the aggieathletics website.
Thursday, May 14, 2009