By Will Potter
The Baylor men’s tennis team dominated No. 6 UCLA early in doubles, but the Bruins made a comeback in singles and edged the No. 9 Bears 4-3 Sunday at the Baylor Tennis Center.
“I thought we were incredibly impressive in doubles today,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “I think that is going to bode well for us down the stretch.”
Baylor earned an early lead versus UCLA by sweeping through doubles and claiming a 1-0 edge heading into singles play. The Bruins jumped out early in singles though, winning five out of six first sets.
Baylor fought back in four of those five matches to claim the second set and force a decisive third and final set. In two of those matches, the Bears were able to claw back and earn much-needed singles victories for Baylor.
The Bears’ No. 22 ranked senior John Peers was able to battle back from one set down to defeat Daniel Kosakowski in a third set tiebreaker, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Roberto Maytin was the other Bear who was able to overcome a first set deficit and eventually upset No. 64 Maxime Tabatruong, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“Maytin just really won with heart,” Knoll said. “He won with a style that is not really his style and just kind of found a way to win. And that was really gratifying to see him dig down when he wasn’t playing his best tennis.”
With the dual match tied at 3-3 and only one singles match left on court, it all came down to a third set tiebreaker between senior Sergio Ramirez and Clay Thompson of UCLA. In the tiebreaker, neither player held a lead of more than one point until Thompson pulled ahead 10-8 to claim the victory for the Bruins, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8).
“The reason we play the schedule we play is we want to be in these situations, but, unfortunately, it didn’t go our way,” Knoll said.
The loss brings the Baylor men’s tennis team overall record to 2-2 and snaps a five match home winning streak. The Bears still hold a 6-3 edge versus the Bruins all time in dual matches, and Knoll found positives in the close loss.
“We are encouraged, and everyone is disappointed to lose that is for sure, but we played a very good team,” Knoll said. “I thought there were some positives out there, and I think the guys are going to take this and get better.”
Next up for the Bears is a showdown with TCU at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Baylor Tennis Center.