Men’s tennis sweeps Arizona State, advances to NCAA second round

Freshman doubles tandem Roy Smith and Sven Lah celebrate winning a point in an April 22 match against Texas. Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor

No. 18 Baylor men’s tennis advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament Friday afternoon in College Station. The Bears posted a 4-0 sweep of No. 36 Arizona State to move on to Saturday’s second round matchup against the winner of host Texas A&M and Lamar.

Baylor head coach Matt Knoll said that after preaching it all season long, his team showed up in all nine spots and competed at a level capable of doing some serious damage in the tournament.

“This was the first day where I thought that all nine spots showed up,” Knoll said. “It’s been a constant theme, and we’ve certainly improved down the stretch. We had some matches in the Big 12 (Championship) where we had eight. Today was the first day that we had nine. I’m pleased. We’re just going to continue to get better and improve. Then we’ve got the chance to be pretty good.”

Baylor claimed the doubles point with wins from junior Johannes Schretter and freshman Akos Kotorman on court one and redshirt junior Will Little and sophomore Constantin Frantzen on court three.

On court one, Schretter and Kotorman earned the early break to charge ahead 4-1. After the duo of senior Michael Geerts and freshman Tim Ruehl held serve, Kotorman then held serve and the duo earned a second break of the match to claim a 6-2 win.

On court three, Little and Frantzen also claimed an early break to go up 3-1 in the set. However, freshman William Kirkman and sophomore Pierre Louis Dodens tied the match at three and remained on serve until Little and Frantzen broke in the final game to take the 7-5 win and put Baylor in front 1-0.

Baylor was able to keep its doubles momentum going in the singles competition, something that Knoll said is key for teams to find success in the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s not easy to build momentum. Once you get it, it’s important to keep it,” Knoll said. “I think we did a really good job of getting those (singles) sets. It puts the other team in a tough spot. Good teams do that. They maintain momentum and don’t allow their opponent to get on the board.”

Freshman Matias Soto gave Baylor a 2-0 lead. Soto ousted No. 80 freshman Benjamin Hannestad 6-2 in the first set and was leading 3-0 when Hannestad was forced to retire due to an injury.

Frantzen then took of Kirkman on court six, claiming a 6-3 win in the first set and a dominant 6-0 showing in the second set.

Little finished off the Sun Devils on court four. Little posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over Ruehl, sending Baylor onto the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Baylor will take on Texas A&M at 1 p.m. Saturday in College Station.