The No. 5 Texas A&M men’s tennis team topped No. 18 Baylor, 4-1, Saturday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center to secure their 14th trip to the Round of 16 in program history.
The Aggies (24-5) defeated the Bears (21-10) and will take on the winner of No. 11 Florida State and Alabama at 6 p.m. (CT) on Friday, May 18, in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Aggies advanced to the Round of 16 for the third time in the last four seasons and in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2011.
The Maroon & White took the advantage early in the match, claiming the tightly contested doubles point. All three doubles matches stayed one serve through four games before No. 3 Juan Carlos Aguilar and Jordi Arconada claimed a break and cruised to a 6-3 win on court one over Johannes Schretter and Akos Kotorman.
Seniors AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech won for the second straight day, the pair broke on the final game to defeat Sven Lah and Roy Smith, 6-4 on court two and give the Aggies the early lead.
The Aggies maintained a bit of scoreboard pressure, winning four of six first sets in singles play including a pair of tie-breakers. No. 72 Valentin Vacherot did not waste much time doubling the A&M advantage, the sophomore defeated Will Little 6-0, 6-3 on court four. Vacherot improved to 15-5 on court four, winning his fourth straight match.
Vacherot’s cousin, No. 12 Rinderknech, put the third point on the board for the Aggies. The Paris, France native, defeated Matias Soto 6-3, 6-2 on court two. Rinderknech claimed his 65th dual match victory to improve to 11th on A&M’s all-time wins list.
Baylor did not go away without a fight, getting a point from Smith on court five over Aguilar.
No. 48 Arconada punched the Aggies ticket to the final site with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over No. 122 Lah on court three. Arconada continued his dominant play on Saturday, winning team-best 22nd dual match of the season to become one of just the 16 players in program history to claim 22 wins or more in a single season.