WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.Â â The No. 5 Texas A&M men’s tennis team came within a point of reaching the NCAA Finals as they stormed back from a 3-0 deficit against No. 1 Wake Forest Monday afternoon before falling 4-3 at the Wake Forest Tennis Center.
The Aggies (26-6) weathered a couple delays and a raucous home crowd to push the Demon Deacons (30-2) to the limit. The Maroon & White claimed wins on courts three, four and five after more than three hours of delays due to lightning and wet courts.
Facing elimination, sophomoreÂ Valentin VacherotÂ put on a show demolishing the 24-year old freshman Bar Botzer on court four. Vacherot, ranked No. 72, won 6-3, 6-2 to pick up his 20th dual win this year to become the fourth Aggie to reach that milestone this season. The Frenchman picked up his third NCAA Tournament win this year and improved to 48-16 overall in the Maroon & White.
No. 48Â Jordi ArconadaÂ put the second point on the board for the Aggies, ambushing No. 38 Skander Mansouri 6-2 in the second set after the first delay and winning 7-5 in the third set. Mansouri picked up an early break and held on for a 6-4 first set victory. Arconada completed one of the most impressive dual seasons in program history on a nine-match win streak. The Buenos Aires native claimed 25 dual wins this year, the second most in a single season in program history, and 67 career wins, the 10th most by an Aggie all-time. Arconada was a perfect 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament including a 3-0 mark against ranked foes.
FreshmanÂ Juan Carlos AguilarÂ evened the match at three-all with an impressive 7-6(6), 6-3 win on court five over Alan Gadjiev. Aguilar finished the season 22-5 in dual matches and 29-8 overall. The 22 dual wins matched a group of Aggies for the 12th most in a single season at Texas A&M.
For the first time in the NCAA tournament the Aggies were not able to capture the doubles point to open the match. No. 21 Borna Gojo and Mansouri claimed a trio of breaks en route to a 6-0 win over No. 3 Arconada and Aguilar on the top court. The Deacons captured the point with a 6-3 win by No. 35 Botzer and Petros Chrysochos overÂ AJ CatanzaritiÂ andÂ Arthur RinderknechÂ on the second court.
After player transitioned to singles action, Wake Forest was able to capture the first set on the top three courts before a lightning delay caused a two hour delay. After lightning lingered in the area for over an hour, rain came through the area and forced the delay even further. After the delay, the Aggies were able to claim first sets on courts four and five while the Deacons picked up a tiebreaker on court six.
In addition to the doubles point, Wake Forest claimed wins on court one from No. 7 Gojo over No. 5Â Patrick Kypson, on court two by No. 4 Chrysochos over No. 12 Rinderknech and Christian Seraphim overÂ Barnaby SmithÂ on court six.
While the historic team season has come to a close, a trio of singles players and a doubles team will feature in the upcoming NCAA Individual Championships. Kypson and Rinderknech earned national seeds, while Arconada will compete in both the singles and doubles bracket. Arconada will partner with Aguilar as the No. 3 national seed in the doubles draw.
The A&M season was one for the record books, the Aggies won more than 25 matches for the ninth time in season history and advanced to the NCAA Semifinals for the first time. Arconada and Rinderknech jumped into the top-10 in singles wins in program history, while Rinderknech also ventured into the top-15 in doubles wins and combined victories.
Visit 12thMan.com for more information on Texas A&M men’s tennis and the upcoming singles and doubles championships. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M men’s tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieMTEN or on Facebook at Facebook.com/AggieMensTennis.
Texas A&M Head CoachÂ Steve Denton
“Tennis is a hidden jewel. A lot of people don’t know how exciting the matches are, on both sides. Everybody lays it out on the line and somebody has to lose. Unfortunately for us, Wake Forest was just a little too good today. I’m really proud of our guys and as far as I’m concerned, college tennis is the winner when we have matches like this.
On the rain delay:
“We needed some divine intervention. We were on our heels. They were beating us pretty good on some courts. It allowed some guys to settle a little bit and we were able to talk to them. We got ourselves back in the match. It was very similar to what happened to us yesterday with Florida. We put ourselves in a position by winning some second sets to extend the match and put some pressure back on. We were creating some doubt for them. That’s what you want to do. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite get on a hump. I’m proud of our guys and it’s been a great season.”
On the second delay:
“I think we played pretty much the same from the first to the second delay. It reminded of the old Wimbledon days where you’re on and off the court a lot. You have to deal with all the emotions and other factors that have nothing to do with tennis. Ultimately, when you get out there on the court, you have to be able to focus and do your job. Our guys did a great job getting us back in the match.”
On the deciding match at No. 6:
“When you have a fifth-year senior (Christian Seraphim) against a freshman, you’re in a difficult spot. He’s been a great player for Wake Forest for a long time. He’s been in a lot of matches and has a lot of experience. We didn’t win any key points early in the third set. I think we lost that match in the first set. We had chances in the tiebreaker and we had chances before the tiebreaker.”
On the Wake Forest crowd:
“It was a new experience for our guys. It is the first time in Texas A&M history that we’ve been on this stage and it’s tougher when you’re facing a home crowd. Our guys have been battle-tested this year. I think we had the second toughest schedule in the country. We played a lot of tough matches. We were prepared for it. In fact, we relished in the atmosphere. It’s a lot of fun playing in front of a crowd like that. I think it raised the level of our players. We enjoyed every minute of it.”
Texas A&M playerÂ Arthur Rinderknech:
On the emotions of playing his final career team match:
“It was a great match. I really enjoyed being a part of the team this year. I’m proud of what we did. We were really close but came up just short.”
Tennis Match Results
Texas A&M vs Wake Forest
5/21/2018 at Winston-Salem, N.C.
(Wake Forest Tennis Center)
#1 Wake Forest 4, #5 Texas A&M 3
1. #7 Borna Gojo (WF) def. #5Â Patrick KypsonÂ (TAMU) 6-2, 6-1
2. #4 Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. #12Â Arthur RinderknechÂ (TAMU) 6-2, 6-1
3. #48Â Jordi ArconadaÂ (TAMU) def. #38 Skander Mansouri (WF) 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
4. #72Â Valentin VacherotÂ (TAMU) def. Bar Botzer (WF) 6-3, 6-2
5.Â Juan Carlos AguilarÂ (TAMU) def. Alan Gadjiev (WF) 7-6 (8-6), 6-3
6. Christian Seraphim (WF) def.Â Barnaby SmithÂ (TAMU) 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-0
1. #21 Borna Gojo/Skander Mansouri (WF) def. #3Â Jordi Arconada/Juan Carlos AguilarÂ (TAMU) 6-0
2. #35 Bar Botzer/Petros Chrysochos (WF) def.Â AJ Catanzariti/Arthur RinderknechÂ (TAMU) 6-3
3. #46 Ian Dempster/Christian Seraphim (WF) vs.Â Patrick Kypson/Valentin VacherotÂ (TAMU) 5-4, unfinished
Texas A&M 26-6; National ranking #5
Wake Forest 30-2; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (1,2,4,3,5,6)
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
Read the full article No. 5 Texas A&M Menâs Tennis Historic Run Ends in National Semifinals at WTAW.