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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Aggies win first match in over a month, move on to second-round

Freshman+Tiago+Pires+returns+the+ball+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BM%E2%80%99s+match+against+Vanderbilt+on+Friday%2C+March+29%2C+2024+at+Mitchell+Tennis+Center.+%28Chris+Swann%2FThe+Battalion%29
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Freshman Tiago Pires returns the ball during Texas A&M’s match against Vanderbilt on Friday, March 29, 2024 at Mitchell Tennis Center. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

The No. 17 Texas A&M men’s tennis team welcomed the No. 45 Rice Owls to the Mitchell Tennis Center for the first round of play in the 2024 NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 3. The Aggies wound up steam rolling the Owls in 4-0 womping.

The Aggies came into the duel on a five-match losing streak, which saw the Maroon and White not get a single win in the month of April. A&M also had a 16 year first-round winning streak on the line versus Rice.

Entering doubles play it was the Fightin’ Farmers who secured the early advantage as the No. 14 team of junior Giulio Perego and sophomore Togan Tokac defeated the Owls highest ranked team in the No. 35 duo of sophomore Kabeer Kapasi and senior Yasha Zemel, 6-1.

Then, earning the coveted doubles point for A&M was the team of senior Raphael Perot and freshman Tiago Pires who defeated Rice’s junior duo of Eduardo Morais and Arthus De La Bassetiere, 6-3.

The Aggies two most familiar duos came up big for them as they helped A&M secure a 1-0 lead heading into singles play.

With eyes on singles play, it all went in favor of the Fightin’ Farmers. The first A&M player to etch his name in the winning column was Perego who made quick work of Rice’s De La Bassetiere in two sets, 6-3, 6-2.

Already up 2-0 A&M’s All-SEC First Team player No. 20 Perot helped extend the lead even further as he quickly defeated Zemel in two sets, 6-4, 6-2. Perot and his teammate Perego both separately earned doubles and singles wins against Rice, as both look to be in peak form.

With the game on the line, up 3-0 and the chance at making it a 17 year winning streak in the first-round of the tournament, it was the Aggies’ junior Luke Casper who earned A&M a spot in the next round as he defeated the Owl’s Kapasi, 6-1, 6-2.

After defeating the Owls 4-0 A&M wins its first match in over a month. Head coach Steve Denton made sure that his men did not leave anything on the court today as he made sure his team put it all out there.

“I think that our guys came in with a lot of determination tonight. You know we got off to a good start in doubles, we were really energetic. I think that sometimes in these matches if you don’t finish a team off then it can come back to bite you,” Denton said. “I kinda preached before this match that we needed to finish and we finished in the doubles and not give the other team an opportunity. I think that was the mindset that we needed to have and obviously we need to carry it forward because San Diego is a really good team.”

The swift sweep moves the Aggies onto the second round where they will host the San Diego Toreros at the Mitchell Tennis Center on Saturday, May 4 at 4 p.m.

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Matthew Seaver
Matthew Seaver, Sports Reporter
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