Bears down No. 9 Mississippi State, 4-3.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the second match in a row, Baylor men’s tennis’ fate rested squarely on the shoulders of Julian Bley. It took him seven match points but the senior came through and the Bears upset ninth-ranked and ninth-seeded Mississippi State (MSU), 4-3, advancing to the NCAA Championships round of 16 for the 11th straight year and 13th time in 15 NCAA appearances.
“This was a huge accomplishment for us to come into this setting against a very good team, deal with the challenges we dealt with today, and come out with the victory,” said head coach Matt Knoll. “I am proud of our guys, especially Julian, he’s worked really hard and deserved this. This year has been a challenging one for us and I’m proud that we get to move on to the round of 16, these guys certainly earned it.”
The match, which began at 10 a.m. this morning, was halted due to rain early in singles competition. After a delay of over an hour, it was decided to move competition to Mississippi State’s two indoor courts. Play resumed at 3 p.m., two matches at a time.
Earlier, Baylor claimed the doubles point when 45th-ranked Kike Grangeiro and Roberto Maytin downed 47th-ranked Louis Cant and Malte Stropp, 8-6, and Bley and Marko Krickovic defeated Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson 9-8, winning the tiebreaker 7-1.
Once play resumed indoors, courts one and two played first. MSU’s No. 88 James Chaudry evened the score at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 86 Maytin at No. 2. Baylor countered with a triumph at the top spot by 17th-ranked freshman Mate Zsiga over No. 13 Artem Ilyushin, a senior, 7-5, 6-3. Krickovic, a freshman, gave BU a 3-1 lead with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Stropp, a sophomore, at No. 3.
The Bulldogs claimed the next two points, evening the score at 3-3, with wins at No. 5 and 4, singles, respectively. Grangeiro, a senior, fell to another senior, Cant, 6-4, 6-2 and senior George Coupland defeated freshman Diego Galeano in three sets. Coupland won the first set 6-2 but Galeano rebounded to take the second, 6-2. However, Coupland posted a 6-4 third-set win.
When play saw suspended at approximately 1:05, Bley and Zach White, playing at No. 6, were tied 6-6 in the first set and 3-3 in the tiebreaker. They finally got back on the court around 5:30 p.m. to resume play. Bley ended up claiming the first set 7-6, winning the tiebreak 7-5. The two evenly matched players dueled to another tiebreak in the second set. Bley never trailed in the tiebreak and had seven match points before finally claiming the victory. Bley caught a break when, with the score tied 10-10, White double faulted then hit a forehand long to give Bley the 12-10 win.
The victory raised Baylor’s season record to 19-11 and 43-13 in NCAA Championship action, it marked the Bears’ second win this season over a top-10 team, they defeated No. 7 Kentucky, 4-3, also on the road. The Bulldogs’ ended their highly-successful season at 20-7.
Baylor will play the winner of tomorrow’s No. 8 Duke and LSU match in the Round of 16. The Bears and their next opponent will meet on Friday, May 18 at 9 a.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
Tennis Match Results
#25 Baylor 4, #9 Mississippi State 3
May 12, 2012 at Starkville, Miss.
(A.J. Pitts Tennis Center)
Order of finish: 2,1,3,5,4,6
1. #17 Mate Zsiga (BU) def. #13 Artem Ilyushin (MSU) 7-5, 6-3
2. #88 James Chaudry (MSU) def. #86 Roberto Maytin (BU) 6-3, 6-2
3. Marko Krickovic (BU) def. #74 Malte Stropp (MSU) 6-2, 6-4
4. #56 George Coupland (MSU) def. Diego Galeano (BU) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
5. #50 Louis Cant (MSU) def. Kike Grangeiro (BU) 6-4, 6-2
6. Julian Bley (BU) def. Zach White (MSU) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (12-10)
Order of finish: 2,3
1. #25 George Coupland/Artem Ilyushin (MSU) vs. Mate Zsiga/Diego Galeano (BU) 7-6, unfinished
2. #45 Roberto Maytin/Kike Grangeiro (BU) def. #47 Louis Cant/Malte Stropp (MSU) 8-6
3. Julian Bley/Marko Krickovic (BU) def. Zach White/Ethan Wilkinson (MSU) 9-8 (7-1)
Baylor 19-11, Mississippi State 20-7