Jan. 20, 2011
ENNIS, Texas -
With blustery weather in the central Texas area on Thursday, the seventh-ranked Baylor men's tennis team was forced to move its first match of the season to the covered courts at the Lion Tennis Center.
However, the change of scenery did not slow down the Bears as they took down Louisiana-Lafayette, 6-1, in the season opener for both teams. The match was originally scheduled to be played at the Baylor Tennis Center, but the cold weather made a venue change necessary.
"It was just a great adventure for all the guys to get to come up here to Ennis and enjoy the hospitality of the high school program and to see a different facility," head coach Matt Knoll said of the match. "It has been several years since we have been able to work out a chance to come up here and play and it was a lot of fun coming up here."
The Bears took very little time getting adjusted to their surroundings as they picked up wins in all three doubles matches. First, fourth-ranked Roberto Maytin and John Peers got past Yanick Mandl and Brandon Farine, 8-5, at the No. 1 doubles position. Next, Julian Bley and Kike Grangeiro beat Oscar Pachon and Carl Alberton, 8-3, at the three spot in the lineup to claim the doubles point for the Bears. The other BU duo of Sergio Ramirez and Jordan Rux battled back from a 7-6 deficit to break Ted Nilsson and Carlin Murray as the Lafayette duo served for the match. The break knotted the match at seven games each and forced a tiebreaker, which the Bears took 7-3 to claim an 8-7 match win.
"I thought our intensity level in doubles was outstanding," Knoll said. "Give a lot of credit to Lafayette - their No. 2 team played well. They really smoked some returns and played some good tennis. I thought our guys did an amazing job playing a really strong return game. They got in sync when they needed to and played very well down the stretch."
In singles, the Bears would take control of the match as Ramirez, a senior, was first off the court with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Farine at the No. 3 spot. Maytin would follow with a 6-3, 6-1 victory at the No. 4 position against Nilsson.
Since the Ennis facility only has four courts, matches five and six started only after matches three and four had wrapped up. The Bears only ranked player No. 22 Peers was next off the court as he took a 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1 win over Murray to claim the match for Baylor. The win was the first dual-match victory for the Melbourne, Australia, product as a Bear, after he transferred in the summer from Middle Tennessee State.
With the match in hand, the Bears would suffer their only loss of the day as Rux went down to Mandl 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 2 spot.
"The environment did not suit Jordan's game style well," Knoll said. "It is fast and cold and he played a guy that played a flat ball and was aggressive. It just didn't set up very well for Jordan, but he will be fine once we get into an environment that is a little better suited for his game style."
To close out the match, the last two matches on were both claimed by Baylor. First, Grangeiro got past Pachon, 6-1, 6-1, and then Bley beat Minvielle, 6-0, 6-2.
"I just felt like the poise and the professionalism and the effort from our guys was great," Knoll said. "Lafayette had some guys that were strong at certain spots and we did a good job of fighting them for those spots. It was a great start to the season."
The win is Baylor's 10th straight to open a season and the Bears have now won 17-straight openers in which they are the home team.
This is the second straight year in which the Bears have beaten Louisiana-Lafayette in the season opener for both teams. With the win, Baylor now holds a seven-match win streak over the Ragin' Cajuns and leads in the overall series 8-5.
Baylor will now face its first ranked opponent as the Bears travel to take on the ninth-ranked Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla., on Sunday at 11 a.m. (CST). Living scoring of the match will be offered at GatorZone.com. Florida will also have a live blog of the action.