The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's tennis team had a huge day at the HEB Tournament of Champions, taking its first match against #53 Middle Tennessee at 9 AM. The Islanders came up big in the 4 PM match, knocking off the top-seeded and 33rd-ranked New Mexico by a 4-1 final to move into the championship match against Texas Tech on Saturday at noon.
"These guys just fought their hearts out in their home town today," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "It means so much to them to play in front of this great Corpus Christi crowd."
In the semifinal round of the tournament, the Islanders controlled the match and took an efficient 4-1 victory to move into the finals. In No.1 singles Johnny Parkes of New Mexico defeated Mikhail Pavlov by a 7-5, 6-4 final. No. 2 singles saw Laurent Montoisy face off against Graeme Kassautzki. The match would go unfinished as the Islanders clinched before completion. In No. 3 singles, Dmitry Novikov took Miles Bugby out in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. No. 4 singles had Jose Zunino winning 7-6, 7-5 over Elliot Chang. No. 5 singles, Jaume Farras won in two sets with a 7-5, 6-3 final. No. 6 singles was closely contested, as James Langford won in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0. The two teams did not have to play doubles due to immediate stoppage once a match was clinched for a team.
"I have so much respect for this New Mexico team," said Moore. "They are well coached and worthy of every bit of their #33 national ranking."
The Islanders move on to face Texas Tech for the second-straight year in the finals of the HEB Tournament of Champions. The Red Raiders defeated the Islanders last year by a
"It is a great opportunity for our team to play Texas Tech in the finals," said Moore. "It is a huge advantage for us because we have such a great home crowd and we are used to the conditions."
In the early match of the day, the Islanders defeated Middle Tennessee by a 4-0 margin. The teams started out with the doubles in the early morning, with the Islanders taking the point with a 2-1 victory. Pavlov and Novikov beat John Peers and Victor Melo by an 8-6 final in No. 1 doubles. In the No. 2 doubles, Zunino and Montoisy lost by an 8-3 margin to Robert McKenzie and Morgan Richard. In the deciding match, Langford and David Pace defeated Kyle Wishing and Alex McCann by a 9-7 decision to take the point and go up 1-0.
In singles the only matches to finish were all in favor of the Islanders. Novikov beat Melo 6-5, 6-4 in No. 3 singles. No. 5 singles had Farras winning a 6-3, 6-2 match to put the Islanders on the brink at 3-0. No. 6 singles saw Langford defeat McCann 6-3, 6-2 to finish the match off and give the Islanders a 4-0 win.
The final tomorrow begins at 12 PM and will pit familiar foes as TAMUCC takes on Texas Tech for the title of the HEB Tournament of Champions. The HEB Tournament of Champions is considered one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country and is the longest running tournament in the nation, going 44 years in a row.
"I think I speak for the whole team when I say we love this tennis community," said Moore. "The chance to play in the finals of this prestigious tournament in front of them tomorrow is very special."
Tennessee vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
3/6/2009 at Corpus Christi, Texas
A&M-Corpus Christi 4, #53 Middle Tennessee 0
1. Mikhail Pavlov (AMCC) vs. Robert McKenzie (MT) 6-4, 3-6, unfinished
2. Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) vs. John Peers (MT) 6-4, 4-6, unfinished
3. Dmitry Novikov (AMCC) def. Victor Melo (MT) 6-3, 6-4
4. Jose Zunino (AMCC) vs. Morgan Richard (MT) 5-7, 5-4, unfinished
5. Jaume Farras (AMCC) def. Kyle Wishing (MT) 6-3, 6-2
6. James Langford (AMCC) def. Alex McCann (MT) 6-3, 6-2
1. Mikhail Pavlov/Dmitry Novikov (AMCC) def. John Peers/Victor Melo (MT) 8-6
2. Robert McKenzie/Morgan Richard (MT) def. Jose Zunino/Laurent Montoisy (AMCC) 8-3
3. James Langford/David Pace (AMCC) def. Kyle Wishing/Alex McCann (MT) 9-7
Middle Tennessee 5-6; National ranking #53
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4-3; National ranking #52