Senior Arthur Rinderknech clinched Texas A&M’s first ever trip to the NCAA Semifinals with a last-match standing three-set victory against Florida Sunday afternoon at the Wake Forest Tennis Center.
The No. 5 Aggies (26-5) topped the No. 13 Gators (19-10) to advance to Monday’s semifinal. Texas A&M will take on No. 1 Wake Forest at 1:00 p.m. (CT) for a place in the NCAA Championship, the semifinal appearance is the first for both the Aggies and Demon Deacons.
No. 12 Rinderknech bounced back from dropping the first set, 7-5, with a break up 6-5 in the second set to send the match to the decisive third-set. With all eyes on the Paris, France native, Rinderknech picked up an early break in the third set and never looked back as he claimed the third set, 6-2. The win was the 22nd of the season for the senior and fifth clinch on the year, the right-hander moved up to 12th on the A&M single season wins list and a tie for sixth on the career list with 66 wins over the past four seasons.
The Aggies opened the match with the doubles point for the 20th time this season, claiming wins on courts one and three to secure the 1-0 advantage. Patrick Kypson and Valentin Vacherot improved to 5-2 as a team with a 6-2 win over No. 36 Duarte Vale and McClain Kessler on court three, the win was the first ranked win for Kypson and Vacherot together.
After Kypson and Vacherot’s victory, Florida claimed the match on court two as No. 42 Chase Parez-Blanco and Oliver Crawford topped AJ Catanzariti and Rinderknech, 6-3.
With the doubles point on the line, No. 3 Jordi Arconada and Juan Carlos Aguilar picked up their team-best 12th ranked win as they defeated No. 5 Alfredo Perez and Ingildsen, 7-5, on court one. The win was the third straight for Arconada and Aguilar and eighth in their last 10 matches as they improved to 15-6 in dual matches and 20-7 overall.
The two teams split first sets in singles play with only courts two and four eventually making it to a third set. Aguilar made quick work of Perez-Blanco, 6-2, 6-3, on court five to push the Aggies ahead 2-0. Aguilar improved to 21-5 in dual matches with the victory, the 21 wins marks the 16th most by an Aggie in a single season in program history.
No. 48 Arconada increased the A&M advantage to 3-0 with his team-best 14th ranked win of the season. The Buenos Aires, Argentina native topped No. 14 Perez 6-3, 6-4 on court three to pick up his 24th dual win of the season, which ties for fourth most wins in a single season. The win was the 66th of Arconada’s career improving him to a tie for 10th in the A&M record book.
With the Aggies needing only one more point to advance to the semifinals, they would have to wait for over an hour for Rinderknech to claim the deciding victory. The Gators claimed points from Kessler over Catanzariti on court six and No. 49 Crawford over No. 5 Kypson on court one.