May 15, 2010

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The 10th-seeded and 10th-ranked Texas A&M men's tennis team advanced to the second round of the 2010 NCAA Division I Championship with a 4-0 rout of Prairie View A&M on Friday night at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

It marked the 13th consecutive year for the Aggies (24-6) to move past the first round since 1998. They will face 18th-ranked Mississippi (19-7) tomorrow in a rematch of last year's NCAA Sweet 16 meeting between both schools which could be played prior to the original start time of 3 p.m. (CT). Ole Miss defeated TCU by a count of 4-1 to reach the second round. Updates and any possible time changes to the match will be available on once weather conditions are monitored in the morning.

A nearly three-hour rain delay didn't stop the Aggies from their task at hand against the Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Panthers (10-16). A&M relinquished only one game in 20 minutes of doubles play as the No. 34-ranked tandem of junior Alexey Grigorov (Moscow, Russia) and senior co-captain Marcus Lunt (San Antonio, Texas) shut out Ronald Chidzikwe and Kudakwashe Nyatoti, 8-0, at the No. 2 line followed by fifth-ranked junior All-American Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) and junior Jeff Dadamo (Tampa, Fla.) with an 8-1 victory over Kristen Powell and Jimmy Yates at No. 1.

"We came out and played very well in doubles," Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. "Our guys were focused on the task at hand. Considering the rain delay, I was pleased with our play. Our guys concentrated well and did not have any mental lapses. That was a major concern for us this evening, but we have faced a lot of adversity this year to prepare us for situations like this. The key in these NCAA Tournament matches is to advance and try to save your legs, because there are a lot of matches to be played in a short period of time. I thought our guys did a good job of that tonight."

Dadamo, ranked No. 39 nationally in singles, and Krajicek, ranked No. 6, increased A&M's lead to 3-0 with dominant showings at the top of the order. Dadamo won two love sets over Craig Wiltz, 6-0, 6-0, at the No. 2 line, while Krajicek gave up just one game to Prairie View's Nyatoti, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 1. Freshman Alberto Bautista (McAllen, Texas) clinched the first-round victory for the Aggies with a 6-0, 6-2 decision over Jose Garcia at No. 4. The Aggies and Panthers played only four singles matches due to the weather delay and to allow time for the two remaining courts to dry, if needed.

"Texas A&M is a really tough team and very deserving of their No. 10 ranking," said Prairie View A&M head coach John Cochran, Jr., whose Panthers' were making their second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. "Overall, I was pleased with our performance. We have a really young team and I like where we are at. We didn't come out sharp, but it was a good match. We wish A&M the best of luck and hope they make it all the way to Athens."