Men’s and women’s tennis bring home Big 12 titles

Senior Patrick Pradella focuses during Baylor’s 5-2 win over Texas on April 16 at the Hurd Tennis Center.
Senior Patrick Pradella focuses during Baylor’s 5-2 win over Texas on April 16 at the Hurd Tennis Center.
Senior Patrick Pradella focuses during Baylor’s 5-2 win over Texas on April 16 at the Hurd Tennis Center.

By Ryan Hannegan

Baylor men’s and women’s tennis dominated the weekend, winning both Big 12 Championship crowns.

For the seventh time overall, the Baylor women’s tennis team won the Big 12 Championship with a 4-1 victory over No. 25 Oklahoma State on Sunday at the Bayard H. Tennis Center.

“I am just proud of these girls,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “It all starts with your seniors. Their leadership really made a difference. I think that was the difference the last couple of years. We just didn’t have that strength of leadership all the way through our team. This year our seniors were incredible. They just pulled the whole team up. That’s where it all starts.”

The Lady Bears opened the match by taking the doubles point with little resistance. To start, Alex Clay and Blair Shankle improved to 11-0 on the season with an 8-3 win over Maria Alvarez and Karyn Guttormsen. The Baylor team of Victoria Kisialeva and Jordaan Sanford sealed the point for Baylor by winning their third straight match with an 8-5 victory over Viktoriya Kushkova and Katarina Adamovic.

In singles, Clay disposed of Alvarez, 6-3, 6-2 at the bottom of the lineup. The Lady Bears slammed the door from there as No. 83 Ema Burgic bested Megan McCray, 7-6(4), 6-2. Burgic had trailed 5-2 in the opening set, before rallying to win in the tiebreaker.

To clinch the match, Shankle squeezed out a 6-2, 7-6(3) triumph on court 4. Burgic was named the event’s Most Outstanding Player, after she compiled a 3-0 singles record over the weekend.

No. 6 Baylor men’s tennis topped No. 3 Oklahoma 4-3 after a comeback win at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center to win its eighth Big 12 postseason title.

“I always think we can pull it out,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “I had a lot of confidence in all the guys that were out there. Diego’s guy served for the match in the second set and when he broke there I thought that we had a path. I really felt like Patrick would get it done and I really thought Michel would get it done. Momentum was so radically on their side (when we were down 3-1). Their crowd was into it, but it is hard to cheer when you are getting drilled and we were getting drilled, but we hung in there.”

The Bears lost three of the first four points but bounced back to even things up at 3-3. No. 16 Patrick Pradella found himself in a clash with No. 6 Axel Alvarez Llamas. Lllamas had won the first-set 7-6(6), before Pradella forced a third set with a 6-3 win in the second. Pradella led the third and deciding set, 5-3 before Alvarez cut the deficit to 5-4.

The Baylor Bear then served for the match and the Big 12 Championship title. He had six match points and faced five break point with 11 deuces in the game. Pradella was finally able to pull away for the victory with an ace up the middle. He was tackled on the court by his teammates in celebration and earned the Big 12 Most Outstanding Player honor.