Men’s tennis topples A&M, SMU in weekend tournament

Senior Tony Lupieri returns a ball during Baylor’s 4-3 loss to top-ranked Oklahoma on April 10 at the Hurd Tennis Center. The Bears end their season in the NCAA semifinals with a 4-2 loss to three-seed Virginia on May 18. Photo credit: Lariat File Photo

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

No. 21-ranked Baylor men’s tennis remained perfect on the season with wins over No. 15 Texas A&M and No. 23 SMU this weekend at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off Weekend at George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.

The Bears (4-0) pulled off the upset Saturday against the Aggies (1-2) after a three-set singles win from freshman Constantin Frantzen pushed the score to 4-3.

Baylor started the day off strong in doubles play, with sophomores Jimmy Bendeck and Johannes Schretter taking out Texas A&M’s Jordi Arconada and James Martell, 6-1.

Frantzen and sophomore Juan Benitez played it close against Aleksandre Bakshi and AJ Catanzariti, but were able to pull out the 7-5 victory to give the Bears the first point of the match.

Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton says that the poor start in doubles was the main reason the Aggies couldn’t pull off the victory.

“We just got off to a really bad start in the doubles and didn’t hold serve,” Denton said. “Give Baylor credit — they jumped on us in the early parts of doubles.”

Following doubles play, the Bears and Aggies went toe-to-toe in singles before Schretter defeated A&M’s Max Lunkin in straight sets to give the Bears a decisive 2-0 lead.

Texas A&M came back to the tie the match at two apiece with losses by Baylor’s Bendeck and Benitez.

The Bears and Aggies split the next two games to make it a 3-3 match before Frantzen delivered the match point for Baylor.

Baylor head coach Matt Knoll was laudatory of Frantzen following his outstanding performance.

“We are really thrilled with where Constantin is at,” Knoll said. “He has some weapons and he is really embracing a game-style that is repeatable. We think if he continues to work and improve there is a really bright future for him.”

On Sunday, the Bears made quick work of the Mustangs (3-2), winning 4-0 in just two hours of play.

Bendeck and Schretter dominated in opening doubles play with a 6-1 victory, and Benitez and Frantzen paired up to grab a 6-2 win and put the Bears up 1-0 in the match.

Bendeck, Frantzen, and Benitez turned in three straight-set victories to clinch the match for the Bears.

With the win, Baylor clinched a win in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships which will take place Feb. 17-20 in Charlottesville, Va.

Knoll was pleased with his team’s effort and performance in the early season tournament.

“We were excited to play,” Knoll said. “We were confident we had a pretty good crew. We just needed a chance to get out and see where we were at. This weekend provided two good tests for us and I am proud of the guys for responding. It was certainly a super way to kick off the season for us.”

The Bears will look to stay undefeated against Lamar at 7 p.m. on Feb. 3 in Houston.