Big 12 champions again

Senior John Peers returns a ball from Texas A&M’s Austin Krajicek in Baylor’s Wednesday night match. Although Peers dropped his match, the Bears won, 5-2, to clinch the 2011 Big 12 regular season championship.
Nick Berryman | Lariat Photographer

Men’s tennis beats Aggies to claim ninth conference title in 10 years

By Will Potter

There were highs and lows for the Baylor men, but in the end, they walked off the court as champions.

Baylor took down the Texas A&M Aggies in a showdown to decide champions of the Big 12 and the Bears left no doubt, roughing up the Aggies 5-2.

“Today was really special and it meant a lot to us to win the conference championship in front of our home crowd,” senior Jordan Rux said.

Winning is what the Baylor men’s tennis team has become accustomed to throughout the last decade and it is exactly what they did in their most important match of the season on Wednesday night at the Baylor Tennis Center against the Aggies.

“We started out slow this year but managed to get better and better, build up a head of steam and come in to the matches that matter the most playing the best we possibly can,” Rux said.

For the 12th time this spring season, the Baylor men swept the doubles point to gain an early 1-0 edge over the Aggies.

At the No. 1 spot for the Bears, the fifth-ranked duo of senior John Peers and sophomore Roberto Maytin dominated the fourth-ranked tandem of Austin Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo 8-4. With the win, Peers and Maytin moved their overall record as a team to 29-5 with a 6-0 record in conference play.

Members of men’s tennis celebrate defeating Texas A&M Wednesday. The 5-2 win ends the Bears’ regular season and gives them the No. 1 seed entering the Big 12 tournament, which begins next Thursday.
Nick Berryman | Lariat Photographer

On court two, the No. 46 team of senior Sergio Ramirez and Rux took care of business against 48th ranked Alexey Grigorov and Junior Ore, 8-5. The match clinched the doubles point for the Bears who headed in to singles with the lead.

“I think today we played some of our best doubles of the season against a great doubles team,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “

First off the court for Baylor was senior Rux who knocked off Grigorov in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. The win gave Baylor a 2-0 lead with five remaining singles matches on court.

“I have been putting in a lot of hard work at practice lately and I have put in a lot of extra hours,” Rux said. “I am glad I was able to right the ship and win when it counts.”

The Aggies didn’t go quietly in to the night, however, battling back from down 2-0 to tie it at 2-2. Peers fell in straight sets as well as Maytin.

The mood grew tense and the atmosphere became electric and each point became crucial. The Big 12 championship came down to who won the final two out of three matches left on court.

To give the Bears a 3-2 overall lead and pull Baylor within one match of yet another Big 12 championship, No. 86 Ramirez upset 40th ranked Jeff Dadamo 7-6(8), 6-3.

“Pulling out the first set tiebreaker was huge for me and I seemed to get energy out of nowhere,” Sergio Ramirez.

The Baylor men’s tennis team clinched the match and the Big 12 conference championship at the No. 5 spot as junior Kike Grangeiro did away with Colin Hoover 6-4, 6-4.

With the win, Baylor clinched the regular season conference championship for the first time since 2009 and for the 10th time since 2000. The win also marks the 11th consecutive for the Bears who will head in to the Big 12 tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.