Baylor Squeaks Past Mississippi State, 4-3

Bears win fifth-straight doubles point en route to victory over 31st-ranked Bulldogs.

WACO – Sophomore Roberto Maytin came through in the clutch with a second-set tiebreak win to help the 11th-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team secure a 4-3 victory over No. 31 Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon at the Baylor Tennis Center.

The win boosts Baylor’s record to 5-2 on the season and improves their home mark to 4-1. However, unlike their first three wins at home Baylor actually trailed in the final stages against the Bulldogs, before Maytin heroics claimed the win.

“I am happy to win,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “Mississippi State was rough. I thought clearly that any time it comes down to last match on it is a nail-biter out there. We were fortunate to win. It was a great college tennis match.”

The doubles matches were a great indication of things to come in singles as each of the three matches was close throughout.

The seventh-ranked duo of Maytin and John Peers was the first Baylor tandem off the court with a 9-7 win against No. 43 Malte Stropp and Louis Cant. Neither team got ahead by more than a game in the entire match until Maytin dropped a shot right over the net to break the Bulldog pair and earn the 9-7 victory. The win was the fifth straight for the BU pair and imporved its dual-match record to 6-1.

Baylor’s No. 3 doubles team of Julian Bley and Kike Grangeiro would then claim the point for the Bears with an 8-6 win over Artem Ilyushin and James Chaudry. The 32nd-ranked Baylor tandem is now 7-0 on the season and 11-2 overall.

At No. 2 doubles, Sergio Ramirez and Jordan Rux battled back from a 4-2 deficit to grab an upset win over the 72nd-ranked team of George Coupland and Zach White, 9-7. The victory gave BU a clean sweep in doubles for the fifth time this season, while Ramirez and Rux improved to 4-1 when paired together.

The doubles point victory marked the fifth straight match in which Baylor had earned the point.

“All the doubles matches were really tough,” Knoll said. “They did a really great job of mixing up their teams. They showed us kind of a different look than we were expecting.”

Mississippi State was quick to respond to the doubles point loss as they opened up singles play by taking three of the six first sets. The fast start led to the Bulldogs evening the match as Coupland dispatched of Ramirez at the No. 2 spot, 6-2, 6-4. The loss halted the senior’s two-match win streak and dropped his record to 4-3.

BU would then take back the lead as the 27th-ranked Peers remained undefeated in dual-match play with a 6-4, 6-1 thrashing of the 53rd-ranked Ilyushin. Peers is 7-0 in team play and 6-5 against nationally-ranked foes overall.

“John played a nice, solid match,” Knoll said. “I think he was a few choices away from playing a really, really good match. He made a few errors from point-blank positions that he doesn’t need to make, but I think if he can clean that up a little bit, he can make that just an unbelievable performance.”

The next two singles match went to the Bulldogs as they pushed Baylor to the brink of defeat. First, Chaudry handed Rux his fourth loss in dual-match play at the No. 4 position, 6-0, 6-3. Then, Dennis Lengsfeld lost his second straight match by falling to Stropp 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 3 spot.

As the Bears fell into the 3-2 hole, the remaining two matches at courts five and six were well into the second set. Grangeiro at the No. 6 position had rallied in his first set from a 5-4 deficit to claim a 7-5 win, before he coasted in the second set, 6-1. Grangeiro’s win raised his record to 5-1 as it knotted the match at three points apiece to set the stage for Maytin’s win.

“Kike was able to win the first set and then really picked it up in the second and was able to stay focused,” Knoll said. “That is what you need. You need guys that are finishers out there.”

The 110th-ranked Maytin used a three-game burst to close out the first set of his match, 6-3, against 73rd-ranked Louis Cant. In the second set things got a little more difficult as Cant opened up a 5-4 lead just moments after Grangeiro had won his match.

Maytin responded with a hold and a break to go up 6-5 in the set. However, Cant once again fought back to break Maytin and force the set into a tiebreaker. With the tiebreak tied at six points apiece, Cant double faulted and then returned a serve from Maytin long to lose the match.

“I thought that Roberto just did a super job of battling the whole way and fighting his tail off,” Knoll said. “He wasn’t playing that well this week, so I thought for him to come out and hold it together against a really tough opponent was impressive.”

The Baylor win drops Mississippi State to 4-4 on the year, while the Bears improve to 5-1 all-time versus the Bulldogs.

Baylor will next be in action on Wednesday when the Bears host Purdue at 3 p.m. at the Baylor Tennis Center. Live scoring and a live blog of the action will be available on BaylorBears.com.

MATCH NOTES: Baylor is now 25-20 against schools from the Southeastern Conference. The win ups Baylor’s record at the Baylor Tennis Center to 133-8 and improves the Bears record under Knoll against ranked opponents to 250-83.

#11 Baylor 4, #31 Mississippi State 3
Feb 27, 2011 at Waco, Texas
(Baylor Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #27 John Peers (BU) def. #53 Artem Ilyushin (MSU) 6-4, 6-1
2. George Coupland (MSU) def. Sergio Ramirez (BU) 6-2, 6-4
3. Malte Stropp (MSU) def. Dennis Lengsfeld (BU) 6-2, 6-2
4. James Chaudry (MSU) def. Jordan Rux (BU) 6-0, 6-3
5. #110 Roberto Maytin (BU) def. #73 Louis Cant (MSU) 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)
6. Kike Grangeiro (BU) def. Zach White (MSU) 7-5, 6-1

Doubles competition
1. #7 Roberto Maytin/John Peers (BU) def. #43 Malte Stropp/Louis Cant (MSU) 9-7
2. Jordan Rux/Sergio Ramirez (BU) def. #72 George Coupland/Zach White (MSU) 9-7
3. #32 Julian Bley/Kike Grangeiro (BU) def. Artem Ilyushin/James Chaudry (MSU) 8-6

Match Notes:
Mississippi State 4-4; National ranking #31
Baylor 5-2; National ranking #11
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,1,4,3,6,5)

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