April 4, 2012
The Rice men's tennis team enjoyed a moment of early success but 25th ranked Texas A&M had an answer for any challenge the Owls could muster, taking a 7-0 dual decision at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station on Wednesday night.
The Owls, who had moved back inside the top 40 at #39 thanks to a seven-match winning streak, staked out an early win when their No. 2 doubles team of Michael Nuesslein and Jonathan Chang captured and 8-4 win. However the Aggies answered right back with a won at No. 1 and then clinched the point with an 8-5 win at No. 3.
The Aggies kept up the pressure when singles play began, taking the first set in four of six matches. Rice's top two entries, Sam Garforth-Bles and Christian Saravia, kept the Owls hopes for an upset alive, while Philipp Seifert narrowly missed a chance to give the Owls a split in the opening singles matches before dropping a first-set tiebreak at No. 6.
The Aggies increased the margin to 3-0 with wins at No. 4 and 3, then clinched the match with a win at 5. Seifert then dropped his second set to push the margin to 5-0.
Saravia, bidding to upset the Aggies 29th ranked Alexis Klegou, moved to a 5-4 lead in his second set before Klegou rallied to win a tie breaker. Since the match had been decided, the two faced off in a third set Super Tiebreaker, with Klegou emerging with a 10-6.
Garforth-Bles and A&M's Junior Ore went the distance in three full sets, with Ore closing out the match with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.
The Owls return home to Jake Hess Tennis Stadium for a pair of matches this weekend. They will host Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Friday with first serve set for 1 p.m. The weekend wraps up when #13 Oklahoma and the Owls meet at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning.