By Branson Hardcastle | Broadcast Reporter
The No. 24 Baylor men’s tennis team (12-3) upset No. 11 Columbia (8-2) 4-2 on Monday night in Waco in a close match.
This was a chance for the Bears to get revenge on the Lions as Baylor lost to Columbia 4-2 on Feb. 17 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship.
Baylor head coach Matt Knoll said this was a great win for the team.
“Well we’re getting better. I think that is what’s so gratifying, because they beat us pretty good when we played them a month ago,” Coach Knoll said. “To see that we are getting better against a top team is really gratifying.”
Baylor started off hot by snagging two doubles wins. On court three, freshman tandem Sven Lah and Roy Smith defeated Columbia’s Adam Ambrozy and Michal Rolski 6-2. Soon after, Baylor’s freshman Akos Kotorman and sophomore Constantin Frantzen took down the No. 23 doubles team, Jack Lin and William Matheson, 6-3 on court two, securing the doubles point for the Bears.
Baylor remained hot in singles play as No. 42 Johannes Schretter cruised to a 6-4, 6-0 win over Columbia’s Jack Lin on court three to extend the lead to 2-0.
Baylor’s Smith applied more pressure on the Lions with his performance on court five. Smith easily won the first set over Austen Huang 6-2. The second set was a back-and-forth affair, but Smith was able to gain control and defeat Huang 7-5 and take a 3-0 lead over Columbia.
Columbia stole the momentum after that by taking the win on court four to gain its first point of the match. Baylor’s Sven Lah had control early in the first set with a 4-2 lead, but Columbia’s Adam Ambrozy mounted a comeback and defeated Lah 6-4 in the first set. Ambrozy carried that momentum into the second set to take down Lah 6-4 to give cut into the Bears lead, 3-1.
On court two, Baylor freshman Matias Soto took on No. 38 Jackie Tang. No. 123 Soto started off the first set strong, but Tang tied the set at 6 games apiece to force a tiebreaker. Tang and Soto were in a heated game with neither player able to gain an advantage until Tang squeezed out a 10-8 win. After Tang stole the first set, Soto ran out of gas and was never able to get back on track, losing the second set 6-0.
With the score at 3-2, No. 66 Baylor sophomore Bjoern Petersen was locked in an intense match against No. 9 Victor Pham on court one. Petersen started the first set on fire taking an early lead over Pham. Pham staged a comeback to force a tiebreaker at 6-6. In the tiebreaker, Petersen took control with his powerful serve and forehand. He forced Pham into a few mistakes, allowing him to take the win 7-5.
Pham controlled the second set beating Petersen 3-6 tying the match at 1-1. In the third set, Petersen regained the momentum to take a 5-4 lead. On the final play, Pham and Petersen had a small rally until Petersen hit a strong forehand to Pham’s left. Pham’s backhand went wide left giving Baylor the upset win over No. 11 Columbia.
Schretter said he believes the team is in a good place right now heading into the BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Tennis Challenge.
“I feel like now, it’s the pieces just coming together. We are starting to win close matches like today,” Schretter said. “I’m looking forward to the next couple of matches. I think we are going to be in good shape for Indian Wells. I feel good about it.”
The Bears will travel to Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., from Friday to Sunday to participate in the BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Tennis Challenge for their next matches.