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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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No. 9 Aggies’ fire burns out against Hurricanes

Sophomore+Mia+Kupres+hits+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+match+against+TCU+on+Sunday%2C+Jan.+28%2C+2024+at+Mitchell+Outdoor+Tennis+Center.+%28Chris+Swann%2FThe+Battalion%29
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Sophomore Mia Kupres hits during Texas A&M’s match against TCU on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024 at Mitchell Outdoor Tennis Center. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

No. 9 Texas A&M women’s tennis visited South Beach on Friday, Feb. 2 to face off against the 2-2 Miami Hurricanes at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables, Florida.

The Aggies’ winning streak ended at four as they fell to the Hurricanes in a 4-3 loss that ended with a back-and-forth tiebreaker set that put A&M back to 3-2 on the season.

In doubles play, the Court 3 duo for the Maroon and White was the first duo to finish in a 6-1 loss to put the Aggies down for the doubles point. Despite a 1-0 start from fifth-year Sydney Fitch and sophomore Daria Smetannikov, they quickly flamed out and lost to redshirt junior Alexa Noel and senior Audrey Boch-Collins.

Luckily for A&M, sophomore Nicole Khirin and freshman Lucciana Perez tied things up on Court 2. After the fifth set, Khirin and Perez were up 4-1 over fifth-year Antonia Balzert and senior Leonie Schuknecht. The pair of Hurricanes were put away in the ninth set as the Aggies came out on top, 6-3.

Court 1 had the No. 3 doubles pair in the nation in junior Mary Stoiana and sophomore Mia Kupres going against seniors Xinyi Nong and Isabella Pfennig. Even though Stoiana and Kupres started down 1-0, they just as quickly got into their groove and came back to take a 3-1 lead going into the fifth set.

The Aggies were at match point at the end of the seventh set. However, the Hurricanes were holding them off as they were able to make it 5-3 and then 5-4 before the tenth set. Stoiana and Kupres finished things with a 6-4 win that won the doubles point for the Aggies.

The singles match started off rocky for A&M, as five out of six Aggies playing lost the first game of their sets.

Luckily for the Aggies, things looked great for No. 26 Kupres, who beat Bulzert 6-0 in her first set. The second set started with a 1-0 lead for Bulzert, but Kupres remained unfazed as she won six straight to win 6-1 in the second set and give A&M a 2-0 lead for the day.

Miami got on the board with No. 81 Boch-Collins defeating Smetannikov in a 6-4, 6-0 sweep on Court 5.

The Hurricanes tied things at 2 as Nong swept junior Jeanette Miareles in two sets on Court 6 that were back-and-forth contests with both scores being 6-4.

A&M was able to take a 3-2 lead from Perez on Court 4, who started off struggling, losing 6-3 to Schuknecht in her first game, but she was able to come back to win 6-1 in a big second set statement.

Game 3 had both Perez and Schuknecht going back and forth and tying each other from 1-1, all the way to 6-6. The Maroon and White nevertheless got their point as Perez got the job done in the 7-5 tiebreaker set.

Court 1 was where No. 1 Stoiana took on No. 25 Noel. Things started out close, with the first game being 2-2. However, Noel won four-straight to take the set with a 6-2 score.

The second set started even worse for Stoiana, as she was down 3-1 at the end of the fourth. She didn’t go down without a fight, she went on to tie things up at 3-3, then 4-4 and 5-5. A 6-5 lead was taken by Stoiana but Noel tied it to force a tiebreaker set where Stoiana won 6-3 to make the official score for the second game 7-6.

In the third set, a quick 4-1 deficit faced Stoiana, who was able to make it 4-3. The Hurricanes, however, tied it at 3 with Noel winning three-straight to beat Stoiana 6-3 in only her second loss of the season.

Everything fell into No. 31 Khirin’s hands in her third set against No. 90 Pfennig. After a tiebreaker loss in the first set, Khirin won the second set 6-4 to force a third game. With a 4-1 lead over Pfennig, Khirin looked as if she was ready to propel the Aggies over the hump.

Miami was not ready to call it quits as Pfennig came back and forced things into a tiebreaker set, where Khirin set the tone with a 5-3 start. One more point and the Aggies could celebrate a fifth win in a row. However, Pfennig came back again and won four-straight to beat Khirin and A&M.

The Maroon and White will look to get over the loss next weekend at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle, Washington, which lasts from Friday, Feb. 9 through Monday, Feb. 12.

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