NORMAN, Okla. (April 27, 2013) -- The 13th-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team defeated No. 35 TCU, 4-1, in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championships at the Headington Family Tennis Center on Saturday to advance to its 12th conference tournament final in the 17-year of the league.
“It is a race to get to four and we got to four,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “We think our guys are playing well. We feel like we are pretty balanced this year. We don’t feel that we have a team that one guy really has to win. We feel like we have seven points out there and it is just a matter of staying focused and fighting for every point and I thought we did what we needed to do today.”
Baylor now moves on to face second-seeded and 14th-ranked Oklahoma (17-6) at 1 p.m. on Sunday in the title match. The two teams met in last season’s championship final with OU topping Baylor, 4-3. However, the Bears beat the Sooners earlier this season on April 12 in Waco, 6-1. That win snapped a three-match losing to OU and upped BU's all-time record vs. the Sooners to 19-17.
“We need to build on what we did today,” Knoll said. “It is always a little tough to play your fist match of a tournament. We got through that one and now we just need to play a lot better. Oklahoma has got a great team and I am sure they will have some fans out here and we absolutely have our hands full. Our guys are going to have to have a good night sleep and be ready to go tomorrow.”
With the victory over TCU, Baylor has now won 10 matches in a row and is 20-4 on the season. The Bears have won 13 straight vs. TCU and have not lost to the Horned Frogs since 2001. The win also ups Baylor’s Big 12 Championship record to 32-9. The Bears also picked up their 13th 20-win season under Matt Knoll.
TCU, (18-9) opened doubles play with a victory on court one. The Horned Frogs claimed two breaks and held serve to take a commanding 5-0 lead, but Baylor’s Mate Zsiga and Diego Galeano fought back to win two games. However, TCU’s Will Stein and Nicholas Chappell earned wins in the final three games to take the match, 8-2.
Baylor struck back on court two where Roberto Maytin and Patrick Pradella broke TCU’s J.T. Sundling and Max Stevens in the second game of the day to go up 2-0. Both teams held serve for the rest of the match giving Baylor an 8-5 victory.
The Bears closed out the doubles point on court three with another 8-5 victory. The two teams both held serve through the seventh game when TCU’s Arnau Dachs and Orlando Superlano broke Julian Lenz and Marko Krickovic to take a 4-3 advantage in the match. Baylor broke back in the following game to tie the match. After Baylor held serve, the two teams traded breaks in the following three games before Baylor held serve to win the match and the doubles point.
Baylor claimed the first singles point with Galeano’s 7-5, 6-2 victory on court five, before No. 30 Pradella got past No. 104 Nick Chappell 6-2, 6-4 on court one to pull the score to 3-0.
Pradella improves his match win streak to four and has now won 10 of his last 11 matches, including four against ranked opponents.
TCU struck back on court six where Sundling got past Maytin 6-4, 6-3. Baylor claimed the match winning point on court three with a 6-3, 6-4 Lenz victory over Dachs.
The win improves the Bears’ overall record to 21-31 against TCU including 16-5 record against the Frogs in the Matt Knoll era.
Baylor has won the title in seven of its previous 11 trips to the Big 12 Championships finale.