Men’s tennis claims singles and doubles crowns at Sherwood Cup

Baylor senior Max Tchoutakian (far left) and sophomore Juan Benitez (middle left) standing along side USC sophomore Jake DeVine (middle right) and USC senior Rob Bellamy Monday after the Sherwood Collegiate Cup in Thousand Oaks, Calif was completed. Photo credit: Baylor Athletics

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

Baylor men’s tennis claimed both the singles and doubles titles Monday at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup in Thousand Oaks, Calif. to start the spring season.

Monday morning, senior Max Tchoutakian and sophomore Juan Benitez paired up to beat USC’s Robbie Bellamy and Jake DeVine 7-5 to take the crown in doubles.

Monday afternoon, Tchoutakian and Benitez faced off for the singles title, which Benitez won 6-0, 6-4.

Benitez’s victory marked the fourth singles championship at Sherwood for the Baylor program and the second in a row, senior Julian Lenz won the tournament last year.

Baylor men’s tennis head coach Matt Knoll reflected on the Bears’ success despite the level of competition.

“It was a great weekend for us,” Knoll told BaylorBears.com. “There was some really tough competition out there. One of our goals was to have one of our guys win it, so to win the singles and doubles was a super way to start the spring season.”

The Bears started off the tournament strong, going 6-2 on the first day in singles and only one of those matches going to a third set.

Baylor sophomores Will Little and Johannes Schretter upset the 15th-ranked and top-seeded pairing of Stanford’s Yale Goldberg and Sammer Kumar 6-4 before losing in the quarterfinals to UCLA’s Ben Goldberg and Logan Staggs.

The second day of action at Sherwood saw many Bears fall in the singles bracket. While Benitez and Tchoutakian each made their way to the semifinals, three Baylor players suffered setbacks in the round of 16 and two lost in the first round of the consolation bracket.

Little fell to Kumar in three sets, freshman Constantin Frantzen lost to Stanford’s Jack Barber in straight sets and Schretter sat out his match due to illness.

Meanwhile, sophomore Jimmy Bendeck and senior Tyler Stayer each lost in straight sets in consolation.

Sunday saw Tchoutakian pushed to the brink against UCLA’s Evan Zhu. Tchoutakian lost the first set 4-6 but battled back to win the second (6-1) and third (6-4) sets to cement a spot in the singles championship game.

Despite losing, Zhu said he is not disappointed in how he fought.

“I had a few hiccups in the second and third set,” Zhu told the Daily Bruin. “But I fought hard and I had some chances to get it back, it just went the other way.”

Benitez dominated UCLA’s Joseph DiGiulio before teaming back up with Tchoutakian to defeat Goldberg and Staggs in the doubles semifinals.

Frantzen and freshman Bjoern Petersen had a chance to face their teammates in the doubles championship but could not get past Bellamy and DeVine, losing 6-3.

When asked about some of the early exits for the Bears, Knoll expressed his satisfaction in the team’s play as a whole.

“When you play eight guys, you never have everyone play their best tennis on the same weekend,” Knoll told BaylorBears.com. “We certainly had some guys not play their best tennis, but on balance it was a really, really good performance for our team. We had a bunch of guys do good things and really get better.”

Baylor returns to Waco to host Incarnate Word at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at the Hurd Tennis Center.

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