March 13, 2010
"I just think we are a different team now then when we came to California," head coach Matt Knoll said. "It is just really, really hard to win here. I thought our guys did a super job of meeting that challenge and finding a way to win. Now we have a foundation to build on for the rest of the season. I think we are in a different neighborhood now than we were before. We all had confidence we had a good team, but it is nice to get some wins to justify that confidence."
With the win the Bears improve to 12-2 on the season and extend their season long win streak to seven matches.
In doubles, the duo of Denes Lukacs and Roberto Maytin opened the match by taking down Hugh Clarke and Finn Tearney, 8-5. However, the Waves answered back when Bassam Beidas and Alex Llompart upset 17th-ranked Jordan Rux and Maros Horny, 8-1. With the point on the line, the 45th-ranked tandem of Julian Bley and Attila Bucko dispatched of Sebastian Fanselow and Alejandro Moreno, 8-4 to put Baylor up 1-0 in the match.
"I thought our two team played one of their better matches," Knoll said. "Our three team did a great job of bouncing back from the match with UCLA. Like the match with UCLA, they got off to a good start and this time they did a way better job of maintaining their poise and staying aggressive. Anytime you are playing a big match it is nice to get off to a good start."
In singles, Pepperdine responded to the Bears' doubles win by taking four of the six first sets. At the No. 3 position, however, Bucko was dominant and took down Alex Llompart 6-1, 6-3 to give Baylor a 2-0 advantage. The win raised the senior's record to 8-2 in dual match play.
"Pepperdine came out in the singles and really jumped on us," Knoll said. "They have a great crowd and their guys play with good energy and they really kind of stole the momentum from us. We were really on our heels there.
"Attila was great out of the gate and all day," Knoll said. "He beat a good guy handily and really controlled his match from beginning to end."
The Waves' first set wins then began to turn into match victories as 90th-ranked Beidas handed No. 22 Lukacs (11-1) his first dual match loss 6-4, 6-3. Mousheg Hovhannisyan then knotted the match at two points apiece by beating Dominik Mueller 6-2, 7-5. The loss snaps the Baylor senior's 10-match win streak and drops his record to 11-2.
"The thing that really stands out is we won this match without Dominik or Denes winning a set in singles," Knoll said. "As much as that is disappointing, on the other hand it is a very encouraging sign for our team. We don't just need one or two guys to win. We got a whole group of guys that can win. I think that is something that gives everybody a whole lot of confidence."
At the No. 6 spot Bley ended the trend by rebounding from an opening set loss to get past Daniel Moss 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Bley's win raises his dual match record to 7-0 and it left the Bears only one point away from the win with the remaining two matches heading to a third set.
"Julian battled hard," Knoll said. "He competes great. He kept his poise and did a lot of good things. His tennis was atrocious, but that is not what it is about all of the time. He fought hard and I am real proud of him. Julian is a great competitor and he fought hard to a big win today when we needed him."
Maytin was one of the two Bears who won his first set and he capitalized on it to take down Finn Tearney 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to clinch the match for the Bears.
"Roberto had a really funny match," Knoll said. "He was up 6-3, 3-0, up two breaks with serve, and then lost eight games in a row. He just totally came off the rails, but he was able to gather himself and ended up clinching the match, which was a really big win for him. It is really the first meaningful win he has in singles for us, so I think that bodes well for us down the road."
With the match in hand, the 28th-ranked Rux beat No. 120 Sebastian Fanselow 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
The loss drops Pepperdine to 6-6 on the season and raises Baylor's series record to 9-4 against the Waves.
The Bears will return to Waco to face No. 39 TCU on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Match Notes: Baylor improves to 11-0 when it wins the doubles point. Under Knoll, Baylor is 15-9 in California, 238-86 against ranked opponents and 242-65 in non-conference play.