Tennis fights frost for the win

By Will Potter

A frigid blast of winter weather chilled Central Texas, forcing the seventh-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team to move the match to Lion Tennis Center in Ennis last Thursday.

Neither the cold temperatures nor the change of venue could stop the Bears from dominating Louisiana-Lafayette from start to finish.

“The season is an adventure, and that was just another chapter in our adventure,” Matt Knoll, head coach, said about the match being moved. “Our guys did a great job of maintaining focus, poise and high intensity throughout the match.”

The Bears took control of the dual match early on by sweeping all three of the doubles matches versus the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Baylor’s fourth-ranked tandem of Roberto Maytin and John Peers methodically picked apart Yanick Mandl and Brandon Farine, taking No. 1 doubles by a score of 8-5. Julian Bley and Kike Grangeiro of Baylor defeated Oscar Pachon and Carl Alberton handily, 8-3.

At the No. 2 spot for Baylor, senior Sergio Ramirez teamed up with Jordan Rux to defeat Ted Nilsson and Carlin Murray from Lafayette in a nail-biter, 8-7.

Rux and Ramirez were down 7-6 with a match point when they broke Nilsson and Murray to tie the match at 7-7. That tie forced a tiebreaker that the Bears won 7-3 to sweep through doubles.

“Sergio and I each played well at different times during the match,” Rux said, “but when we went down match point we just synced up, made good returns and ended up pulling it out.”

After sweeping all of the doubles matches versus Louisiana-Lafayette, Baylor did not let up.

In singles play, Baylor dominated as Ramirez was first off the court with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Brandon Farine at the No. 3 spot. At the fourth spot, Maytin handily defeated Ted Nilsson 6-3, 6-1.

John Peers, ranked No. 22 in the nation, closed out the Ragin’ Cajuns with a hard-fought 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1 victory over Carlin Murray ,securing the Bears’ win.

“Once we got on top of them we continued fighting hard and just finished off the match,” Peers said.

Baylor won both the final matches in dominating fashion when Julian Bley beat Minvielle 6-0, 6-2 and then Kike Grangeiro dismantled Oscar Pachon 6-1, 6-1.

Baylor now holds a seven-match winning streak over Louisiana-Lafayette and has the overall lead in the series, 8-5.

“It was a pretty good start even though we had to travel to Ennis,” Knoll said. “I think that we have an incredible amount of momentum for this time in the season.”

The No. 3 ranked women’s tennis team opened their first dual match action of the season with a 6-1 drubbing of the Houston Cougars.

Baylor took an early lead in doubles as Sona Novakova and Diana Nakic won 8-2 at the No. 1 spot. On court two, Jelena Stanivuk and Nina Secerbegovic dominated their match 8-1. The No. 3 tandem of Aya Bara and Abby Stainback lost 8-7 (8-6) after an arduous battle.

“I was really pleased with the way we played at one and two doubles,” Joey Scrivano, head coach, said. “Also, anytime you can get in a position where you have match point that is a good thing. Our No. 3 team just needed to finish it off.”

In singles action, the Lady Bears took care of business from top to bottom.

At the No.1 spot, Diana Nakic gave up only one game and won in straight sets over Dionne Sanders, 6-1, 6-0. Playing No. 2 for the Bears, the 19th nationally ranked Sona Novakova dismantled Bryony Hunter, 6-0, 6-2. Aya Bara beat Maja Kazimier 6-3, 6-0.

“We have a lot of collegiate tennis experience with our top four girls,” Scrivano said. “We were obviously the better team and when you’re the better team it is all about staying focused and finishing off your opponent.”

The Lady Bears had no problem finishing as Jelena Stanivuk easily won 6-1, 6-1 over Jo Garvey and 40th-ranked Nina Secerbegovic rolled in straight sets 6-0, 6-4, over Girogia Pozzan to secure the victory for the Lady Bears.

The Baylor women’s tennis team did not drop a set to the Houston Cougars in their victories and controlled this dual match from start to finish.

The Lady Bears take on Alabama at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Baylor Tennis Center.