Texas A&M captures Big 12 title
Aggies roll past Sooners, tie school record for wins in a season
WACO, Texas -- Led by senior Jeff Dadamo, named the Most Outstanding Player in the Big 12 Championships, ninth-ranked Texas A&M topped No. 25 Oklahoma, 4-0, to win the 2011 Big 12 Championships held at the Baylor Tennis Center in Waco, Texas, on Sunday.
"Our guys played really well this whole tournament," Aggie head coach Steve Denton said. "Today, the doubles point was key again. We got on top of them and our guys then went out and won each of the first sets so Oklahoma was playing uphill the whole day. OU had a really tough match against Baylor and it may have taken a little out of them. Our match (with Texas) was a little easier and I felt like our guys stayed engaged the whole day and it really made a difference. Give OU credit, they fought hard, and John (Roddick) has done a great job with that program. This championship is great for our program."
"What can I say about Jeff (Dadamo) and all of our seniors like Austin (Krajicek), Alexey (Grigorov) and Kayvon (Karimi)," Denton explained. "They provide such great leadership, not only in our matches, but in everything that they do. They are great Aggies and have a great will to win."
In doubles, the senior All-American duo of Austin Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo, ranked No. 4 in the country, took care of the Sooner No. 1 doubles team of No. 70-ranked Ionut Beleleu and Tsvetan Mihov, 8-2. The doubles point was clinched when junior Colin Hoover and sophomore Alberto Bautista, ranked No. 90 in the land and the 2011 Big 12 Champions at No. 3 doubles, defeated the Sooner tandem of Lawrence Formentera and Laurentiu Gavrila, 8-6.
The Aggies continued to apply pressure by winning every first set in singles. The next point in the books came from steady senior, Jeff Dadamo who posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 48 Costin Paval at the No. 2 line. It marked Dadamo's third win in the Big 12 Championships and moved his spring record to 22-3. Dadamo is ranked No. 36 in singles. Dadamo teamed with Krajicek to post wins in all three doubles matches this weekend in Waco helping make sure A&M won each of the doubles points in all three matches.
"Jeff served really well and was the most aggressive off of the ground that I have seen him play," Denton stated. "He really threw the first punch on most of the rallies and took control of his match and had his opponent on his heels throughout."
Junior Colin Hoover was next off of the courts with a 7-5, 6-2 victory at No. 5 as he defeated Lawrence Formentera, 7-5, 6-2.
"Bob (McKinley) and I talked between doubles and singles that we thought the matchup of Colin (Hoover) against (Lawrence) Formentera was a little bit better for us," Denton said. "We had been playing Alberto (Bautista) at No. 5 but that moved worked for us."
Junior Alexis Klegou, the Big 12 Champion at No. 4 singles and currently ranked No. 89 in the singles rankings, clinched the match with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) win against Peerakit Siributwong. The win moved Klegou's spring record to an overall 19-3 and he is perfect at No. 4 singles with an 11-0 mark.
Niall Angus moved into the No. 6 singles lineup and won his first set to keep the pressure on Oklahoma. Through the three Big 12 Championship matches, A&M only lost one first set in singles play.
The team win improves the Aggies' record to 27-5 on the year, tying for the most wins in school history with the 2001 club. That 2001 Aggie team was the last A&M squad to win the men's Big 12 Championship and it was also conducted in Waco. Overall it is the fourth title for the Aggie men's tennis program to go along with the 1998, 2000, 2001 and now 2011 teams. This was the second consecutive year for A&M to reach the championship match and the seventh time in the league's history.