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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

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Men’s tennis captures 2017 SEC title after defeating Georgia

Sophomore+Aleksandre+Bakshi%26%23160%3Bwaits+as+his+doubles+partner+Max+Lunkin+prepares+to+serve+the+ball.
Photo by Photo by Rachel Grant

Sophomore Aleksandre Bakshi waits as his doubles partner Max Lunkin prepares to serve the ball.

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o. 10 Texas A&M men’s tennis became the 2017 Southeastern Conference champion after defeating No. 11 Georgia Saturday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis center. This is the second time in three years the Aggies (18-5, 11-1 SEC) share a conference title  with the Bulldogs (15-7, 11-1).
The first victory for the Aggies came after junior Jordi Arconada and freshman Hady Habib worked together to defeat UGA’s Paul Oosterbaan and Nathan Ponwith, 6-3. 
A&M juniors AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech kept the momentum going as they defeated the No. 2 pair of Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb, 6-2, marking the highest-ranking win for duo.
Aleksandre Bakshi and Max Lunkin were the only Aggie pair to concede to UGA after Wayne Montgomery and Walker Duncan defeated them, 6-3. 
Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said the points earned by the doubles teams played a crucial part of the team’s conference championship.
“Our guys came out with a lot of energy and we’ve been talking about that,” Denton told 12thman.com. “That is what that doubles is really about. We are playing a sprint, it’s one set and that energy really makes a difference and we were able to jump on top of them and we had great help from the 12th Man today and we fed off that energy and our guys played even better than I had hoped they’d play in the and obviously that relaxed us and got us off on the start we needed.” 
A&M won four of the six individual matches of the day, with one match proving to be the deciding game for the Aggies’ conference title. Having won on the doubles portion of the day, No. 8 Rinderknech defeated No. 60 Ponwith to give A&M its second regular-season SEC title.
Freshman Valentin Vacherot defeated Georgia’s Zielinski in two matches, 6-3, 6-0. Denton praised his team for getting ahead of their opponents putting the Aggies in a position to take control of their championship run.
“Arthur and Val set the tone for us winning their first sets and jumping on their guys early in the second and putting us in a good situation,” Denton said to 12thman.com. “The match was a lot closer than the score indicated. Our guys got off to great starts and were able to hold those leads and the momentum on our side and fed off the crowd and the rest was just a team victory.”
Bakshi recovered from his doubles loss earlier in the day by defeating Loeb, 6-4,6-4. Arconada earned his 17th straight victory in the singles portion of competition by defeating Montgomery in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
According to Denton, picking and choosing which players are going to go up against the opposing team is always a puzzle, but he felt that the match-ups against UGA paid off.  
“It’s always a work in progress, but obviously the guys played pretty solid today,” Denton told 12thman.com. “We were in all three of those doubles matches today. We had chances at three doubles the first game to break and lost a couple of points and we got up on them at one and two. You don’t want to change a winning hand too much and our guys came out very energetic and really wanting this match today and it was evident by how we started in the doubles.”
The regular season title gave A&M the top-seed in the 2017 SEC conference tournament. The Aggies will be back in action April 27-30  in Knoxville, Tennessee. The conference bracket will be released once conference play is concluded Sunday.

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