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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Aggie Men’s Tennis update from ITA-All America

Texas A&M’s highly touted freshman A.J. Catanzariti continued his memorable run at the 2014 Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships. Catanzariti, after running the gauntlet in pre-qualifiers, repeated his success again in qualifiers becoming one of 16, in a bracket of 128 players, to advance to the main draw of the championship
Catanzariti out dueled the University of Southern California’s Eric Johnson, a senior who is preseason ranked No. 124 by ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association), in three sets on Monday 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3. Catanzariti then rallied in second round action on Tuesday to defeat East Tennessee State University’s line one singles player from a year ago, No. 97 David Biosca. In this match, Catanzariti took the last 12 of 16 games, winning 4-6, 6-4, and 6-0.
The victory placed Catanzariti in yet another do-or-die final round matchup versus Ohio State University’s Chris Diaz on Wednesday. Catanzariti, with a spot in the championship’s main draw at stake, outlasted the Buckeye’s Diaz in a first set tie breaker before ultimately putting him away in the third set, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3.
Catanzariti’s victory moved him to a perfect 7-0 singles record for the tournament and his head coach Steve Denton has taken notice.
“He has continued to impress us with his shot making ability, his really fearless approach to how he plays,” coach Denton said. “He really has a knack for going for his shots in important moments in matches… As each match goes on, I think he’s gaining more and more confidence in himself and obviously we are really impressed with him with what he has been able to do.”
Catanzariti continues, as one of three Aggies in the main draw for singles, his run today at 10:30 a.m. against No. 80 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski from the University of Virginia. No.11 Harrison Adams will also hit the court for A&M at 10:30 a.m. as he takes on the University of Southern California’s No. 39 Jonny Wang. Lastly, A&M’s No. 15 Shane Vinsant will be pitted against No. 25 Andrew Adams from the University of South Carolina at 11 a.m.
Two A&M doubles team will compete in the main draw of the championship. Sophomore Max Lunkin, paired with who else, but A.J. Catanzariti, advanced all three rounds in qualifiers with their culminating match being a 6-4, 6-4 two set sweep of Ben Lott and Alen Salibasic from Drake University. No. 37 Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo, despite being ousted in qualifying action, will be competing in the main draw after they received special exemption to continue their run.
Lunkin and Catanzariti play their first match of the main draw at 2:00 p.m. today against No. 27 Alex Lawson and Billy Pecor from Notre Dame University. Efferding and Szabo take on No.7 Gregory Bayane and Chase Melton from the University of California at 2:00 p.m. as well.
All matches are held at Case Tennis Center on the campus at the University of Tulsa.
Coach Denton eyes these remaining days of what he considers the “premier event of college tennis in the fall” as further opportunity for his players to gain momentum as they prepare for spring play.
“The key for us still early in the season is being able to get as many matches as possible for our players so that they can, do like A.J. and kind of build their confidence,” coach Denton said. “You become a better tennis player when you play more and that’s really what this is about. This is about getting matches and obviously the wins are great, and the wins allow you to keep continuing to participate and compete, and that’s the best part about this.”

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