No. 5 Bears defeat Louisville to clinch spot in ITA Indoor Team Championship field

Baylor senior Constantin Frantzen celebrates after winning a set during the Bears' 4-1 victory over Louisville. Frantzen competed in his first singles match of the season. Brittney Matthews | Multimedia Journalist

By Stasya Hopp | Reporter

No. 5 Baylor men’s tennis (5-0) earned another win in the ITA Kick-Off championship match, defeating Louisville (5-1) 4-1 Sunday at Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.

This win secures Baylor a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships next month in Madison, Wis.

“Louisville’s a highly competitive team and they came ready to compete,” head coach Brian Boland said. “It was a hard-fought match, which we expected.”

Sophomore Finn Bass and freshman Sebastian Nothhaft achieved a 6-0 victory in their doubles match over Cardinals sophomores David Mizrahi and Alex Wesbrooks. Senior Constantin Frantzen and junior Sven Lah, ranked 20th, guaranteed the Baylor Bears their first point with a clean 6-3 win against Sergio Hernandez and Fabien Salle.

The Bears won two of their six opening singles sets against the Cardinals, with Bass coming out particularly strong, taking his first set 6-0. The team regained some speed, coming back to win five out of six second-set matchups.

19th-ranked Lah defeated Hernandez 6-3, 6-1 on court two. He was followed by Bass’ two-set win over Mizrahi 6-0, 7-5. Nothhaft wrapped up the match with a well-fought 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory against Clement Filho. Boland said he was impressed with Nothhaft’s tenacity.

“That’s the kind of experience we want him to have and embrace that pressure situation and what I loved about it was he played to win,” Boland said. “He didn’t back off. He took it to him, and he played really aggressive and used his strengths all the way to the end.”

Coming to Baylor as a freshman to begin the spring, Nothhaft said he had to be ready to “step up” in order to be successful.

“There’s no time for fooling around or slowing down,” Nothhaft said. “I have to be there, and I have to be ready. Playing many junior tournaments, I got used to going into a tournament and having to attack straight away, and that’s a similar mindset I put myself into when I got here.”

Though it went unfinished, Frantzen played his first singles match of the season, having only participated in doubles the past four matches due to discomfort in his shoulder. The senior dropped his first set 2-6 to Matthew Fung but mounted a comeback to take set two 6-2, and was leading 5-4 in his final set when Nothhaft clinched the final point.

Louisville’s only win of the day was on court three when Baylor senior Ryan Dickerson dropped his first match of the season 6-4, 6-4 to Salle.

Up next for the Bears is their match against the Arkansas Razorbacks at 1 p.m. next Sunday in Fayetteville, Ark.