Baylor men travel to Stanford Tuesday for HP Cup

The eighth-ranked men’s tennis team will meet the 15th-ranked Stanford Cardinal for the eighth time in the last seven years on Tuesday in Stanford, Calif., at 3 p.m. (PT) at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

The match will also mark the fourth edition of the battle for the HP Cup. The contest will be televised in California by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, airing on Sunday, April 4, at 12 p.m. The match will also be replayed on Friday, April16, at 2:30 p.m.

Baylor enters the match riding a two-match win streak after sweeping a doubleheader on Saturday that moved its record to 15-3 in the spring. The Bears are 12-0 at home, 2-1 in true road contests and 1-2 in neutral site contests.

Live results of the match will be available on BaylorBears.com courtesy of GoStanford.com.

HP CUP: The HP Cup is a yearly meeting between the two schools that is sponsored by the Hewlett-Packard Company. The company’s CEO, Mark Hurd, attended Baylor in the 1970’s and played tennis for the university. The company’s main offices are located in Palo Alto, Calif., near Stanford’s campus.

LAST TIME OUT: In its doubleheader sweep on Saturday at the Baylor Tennis Center, Baylor took out Abilene Christian and St. Edward’s by identical 7-0 scores. The two shutout wins were the ninth and 10th of the season for Baylor matching its total from all of last season. In the two contests, Baylor won all six doubles matches and lost only two sets in 12 singles matches.

BAYLOR IN THE GOLDEN STATE: In 24 matches in California during the Matt Knoll era Baylor is 15-9. Earlier this month, Baylor traveled to California and recorded wins over No. 8 UCLA, 4-3, and 24th-ranked Pepperdine, 5-2. The Bears played no matches in the nation’s most populated state in 2009, but Baylor was only 1-3 in 2008 with losses to USC, UCLA and Pepperdine and a win against Stanford. Baylor’s best trip west came in the 2006 campaign when the Bears went 6-2 in matches played in California.

CURRENT TEAM STREAKS AND TRENDS: Overall, the Bears have won 30 of 34 matches dating back to last season. The Bears currently own a two-match win streak, after enjoying streaks of five and eight wins earlier in the year.

DOUBLES POINT STREAKS AND TRENDS: The Bears took all six doubles matches in their doubleheader on Saturday. BU has now won the doubles point 13 times this season and lost it in five matches. However, before the current two-match streak, Baylor had lost three out of the last four doubles points after starting the year 10-2 in that category. Baylor is 13-0 in matches when winning the doubles point and just 2-3 when losing it.

SINGLES STREAKS AND TRENDS: Senior Denes Lukacs has won 32 of his last 36 matches overall, which includes a 13-2 start to this dual match season. Senior Dominik Mueller has won 13 of 16 to start the dual match season. Meanwhile at the No. 2 spot Jordan Rux is 12-2 and Attila Bucko is 11-2 playing mostly at the third spot in the lineup.

BAYLOR IN THE RANKINGS: In the latest rankings release by the ITA on March 23, Baylor as a team remained at No. 8 after knocking off 42nd-ranked TCU and losing to No. 1 Virginia. Individually, the Bears continued to have two singles players ranked as Lukacs and Rux came in at 16th and 28th, respectively. In doubles, the tandem of Rux and Maros Horny are ranked 33rd, while Horny partners with Lukacs to make up the 72nd-ranked team. New ITA rankings for teams, singles and doubles will be released on Tuesday afternoon.

SCOUTING STANFORD: The Cardinal enter Tuesday’s showdown on a four-match win streak that has pused their record to 11-3. In their last match out, Stanford took down No. 32 Arizona, 6-1, on Saturday afternoon in its first Pac-10 match of the season. Coach John Whitlinger has assembled a roster in his sixth season as head coach that features two seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen. This season, Stanford has claimed wins over No. 10 Kentucky, No. 11 Illinois and No. 28 Michigan. The Cardinal has lost to No. 8 Texas, No. 27 California and No. 5 USC. Stanford is 7-2 at home, 2-0 on the road and 2-1 in neutral site contests.

Players to Watch: Stanford has three players in the March 16th edition of the ITA singles listings. Bradley Klahn leads the way at No. 8, while Alex Clayton is 35th and Ryan Thacher is ranked 65th. Stanford also has the No. 2 doubles team in the country with the tandem of Klahn and Thacher, while Clayton partners with Richard Wire to makeup the 30th-ranked team.”

SERIES RECORD: Baylor has never lost to Stanford, holding a 9-0 record over the Cardinal in a series that dates back to 1999. The Bears and the Cardinal have met at least once for the last eight years. In the three previous meetings of the HP Cup, Baylor edged fourth-ranked Stanford 4-3 last year, recorded a 5-2 victory over No. 40 Stanford in 2008 and earned a 7-0 sweep of the 27th-ranked Cardinal in 2007. The Bears are 4-0 at home, 4-0 in Palo Alto and 1-0 in neutral site contests against Stanford.

LAST TIME AGAINST STANFORD: The 10th-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team squeaked out a 4-3, upset of the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal, on March 25, 2010 at the Baylor Tennis Center and kept the HP Cup in Waco for a third straight year. Baylor needed the last match on the court to finish off Stanford, where freshman Maros Horny came from behind to beat Blake Muller in three sets 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-2 to give the Bears the coveted final fourth point.

WINNING AGAINST THE BEST: The Matt Knoll era has seen Baylor play 327 ranked opponents with the Bears going 240-87 in those matches. This year, Baylor is 8-3 against ranked teams. Last season, the Bears were 20-6 against teams in the ITA’s rankings of the top 75 college teams. Baylor’s best year against ranked foes came in 2005 when it went 29-1 against the nation’s elite with the only loss coming to No. 6 UCLA in the NCAA Tournament finals.

OWNING NON-CONFERENCE OPPOSITION: The Knoll era has brought success in non-conference play with Baylor sporting a 245-66 mark in non-league play over the last 13+ years.

LOOKING AHEAD: Tuesday’s match marks the last non-conference contest of the season for Baylor as the Bears start conference play in search of their 10th Big 12 title on April 7 against Texas A&M in College Station, Texas at 6 p.m.

Quotes – Head coach Matt Knoll
On being a part of the HP Cup:
“We are thrilled to be a part of it. Hewlett-Packard is one of the great companies in the world and for us to be associated with them and Stanford, which has the greatest tradition in men’s college tennis, I think is a big deal. We feel honored to be a part of it.”

On what the match means to the program:
“It is going to be on TV again and it’s going to be a really first-class event. We are excited to get out there and hopefully play a really great match. “

On Stanford:
“We know they have a lot of really good players. We played a lot of their guys in the Sherwood Cup in January, so we know how good they are. We are going to have our hands full and I think the guys are going to be super-excited to go out and see how it goes.”

On having never lost to Stanford:
“I think those things that happened in past aren’t really going to have any effect on what happens this year, but they always have a great team. They are very well prepared. They have a great coaching staff and this year is no exception. Their talent is level is very high.“

On the challenge his team faces:
“We know Coach Whitlinger is going to prepare them and they are going to play a great match against us. If we are going to have a chance, we are to have to play well. We all know that and hopefully we can match the challenge.”

On if he will stay with the new doubles pairings he used on Saturday:
“I think this is what we are going to try for the short-term. We felt like things went well. We felt like those pairings gave us some things that will hopefully help us when we play some of these matches down the road. We certainly have a chance to prove it against Stanford. They are great at doubles, so we will get a great chance to see where we stand.”

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