By Will Potter
Pushed to the brink of defeat, the 11th-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team battled back to defeat a tough Mississippi State team 4-3 at Baylor Tennis Center on Sunday.
The win improved the Bears overall record to 5-2 on the season and is the first dual match they have trailed, been able to comeback and claim a critical victory over a tough opponent.
“Mississippi State was tough. I think that any time it comes down to the last match it is a nail-biter out there,” said head coach Matt Knoll. “We were fortunate to win. It was a great college tennis match.”
Baylor jumped on top of the Bulldogs early by claiming the doubles point for the fifth straight time.
“All the doubles matches were really tough,” Knoll said. “They did a really great job of mixing up their teams. They showed us kind of a different look than we were expecting.”
Mississippi State bounced back from doubles and in singles play they claimed three of the first four matches off court taking a 3-2 overall lead in the match with two singles matchups still on court.
John Peers remained perfect at the No. 1 spot for Baylor by dismantling Artem Ilyushin in straight sets 6-4, 6-1 and improving his record to 7-0 this spring.
It came down to the final two matches for the Bears as Kike Grangeiro was able to cruise to a 7-5, 6-1 win to knot the match at 3-3.
All of the pressure landed squarely on the shoulders of Roberto Maytin at the No. 5 spot and he came through in the clutch for Baylor.
Maytin easily took the first set 6-3 versus Louis Cant and had to battle to back from a 5-4 deficit in the second set to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreak, Maytin and Cant were tied at 6-6 before Maytin won two consecutive points to clinch the match and the overall victory for Baylor.
“I thought that Roberto just did a super job of battling the whole way and fighting his tail off,” Knoll said. “I thought for him to come out and hold it together against a really tough opponent was impressive.”
The Baylor men’s tennis team takes on the Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Baylor Tennis Center.
The seventh-ranked Baylor women didn’t have quite as much trouble as the men had dispatching their opponent as they swept No. 60 Fresno State 7-0.
The Lady Bears got things rolling early as they won the doubles point for the first time in six matches and did not look back after that.
“I love the way we came out in doubles,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “We have obviously struggled with doubles this year, and the players just did a great job of making changes.”
Baylor dominated every aspect of the match losing only one set in all six of the singles matches. The Lady Bears winning streak is now at three matches in a row and improves their record versus ranked opponents to 5-1.
The Lady Bears open up Big 12 play against Missouri at 2 p.m. on March 4 at the Baylor Tennis Center. The Baylor women’s tennis team will look to continue the 56-match Big 12 win streak they currently have.