April 19, 2017
By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
Facing a ninth-ranked TCU team that hadn't been seriously challenged in any of its three previous Big 12 matches, the fourth-ranked Baylor men made the Horned Frogs work for their second Big 12 championship.
But in the end, TCU's experience edge - four upperclassmen in the singles lineup, compared to Baylor's one - was the difference in the Horned Frogs' 4-1 victory Wednesday night in the Bears' regular-season home finale at the Hurd Tennis Center.
"You really saw a poise, up and down their lineup, that I think we lacked," said Baylor coach Matt Knoll, whose team fell to 21-5 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12. "It was one of those matches where in spurts we played really well. But, we weren't able to sustain the level of intensity we needed to play a team this good. They just did a much better job."
Baylor's lone senior, Max Tchoutakian provided the Bears their only point, beating 83rd-ranked Guillermo Nunez, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, on Court 3.
"I knew it was going to be tough, because he's a grinder and he likes to make balls," Tchoutakian said. "He broke me my first game, I was kind of nervous actually. And I found a way to execute and played out of my mind in the first set. . . . I'm glad that I won for myself and I'm very disappointed for the team."
TCU (16-4, 4-0) got the early advantage by winning the doubles point. Featuring three top-40 duos, the Horned Frogs got a 6-2 win over Tchoutakian and Constantin Frantzen at No. 3 and clinched it with a late break on Court 2 as Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder knocked off Jimmy Bendeck and Johannes Schretter, 6-4.
Schretter, who was 19-1 for the year and unbeaten in conference play, lost in straight sets to 27th-ranked Alex Rybakov, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 2 to give TCU a quick 2-0 lead.
"It's always hard to lose," Knoll said. "It was a really good experience for our guys. We'll grow from that. I think you saw a lot of the youth of our team today. To be in a big match, a big situation, in conference, that's something we're going to grow from, and I think moving forward we'll benefit from it a lot."
It looked like TCU would go for the quick knockout, winning four first sets and getting in position to close it out with second-set leads at Nos. 5 and 6.
Frantzen took Trevor Johnson to a tiebreaker at No. 6 before falling, 6-3, 7-6(1), while sophomore Will Little rallied from a 2-5 second-set deficit at No. 5 to split sets with Stalder by winning five straight games and was tied up at 1-1 in the third set when the match ended.
"I actually didn't see it, but I heard after the match that Will was down 6-4, 5-2 (with a no-ad match point at 40-40), and he came back," Tchoutakian said. "Which, that helps the team so much. I'm pretty pumped for him that he came back like that and didn't take the loss."
Bendeck had lost four straight games at No. 4 singles, but was leading Lopez, 7-5, 5-6, and was in position to close it out with a second-set tiebreaker.
But, with the match on the line, second-ranked Cameron Norrie bounced back from a second-set loss and dominated 13th-ranked Baylor sophomore Juan Benitez in the third set, clinching it with three service aces in the last game to win, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, at No. 1.
"I think (that's) another great example of what we've been talking about," Knoll said. "(Benitez) competed hard, did some good things, but played a guy that was a little bit more put together today. He's going to have to grow from that and do better."
The Bears will close out the regular season with a matchup against last-place Texas Tech (10-14, 0-4) at 6 p.m. Saturday in Lubbock and will likely be the No. 3 seeds for next week's Big 12 Championship in Norman, Okla.
"Maybe we're going to play TCU again and it's going to be different, because you never know in tennis," Tchoutakian said. "Every day is different."
WACO, Texas - The fourth-ranked Baylor men's tennis team suffered a 4-1 setback against No. 9 TCU Wednesday at the Hurd Tennis Center on Senior Day.
Playing their first match in a week, the Bears were unable to continue their winning ways, falling to the streaking Horned Frogs, who have now won 11 consecutive matches.
TCU got out to an early advantage by winning the doubles point. At the No. 3 spot, Constantin Frantzen and Max Tchoutakian dropped a 6-2 contest to the 40th-ranked Trevor Johnson and Cameron Norrie on court three to open the match. That decision was followed by the 34th-ranked pairing of Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder besting BU's No. 64 duo of Jimmy Bendeck and Johannes Schretter, 6-4, at the No. 2 position to clinch the opening point.
In singles play, Baylor lost four of six first sets and went on to drop three out of the next four contests to lose the match.
First, the 53rd-ranked Schretter suffered a 6-2, 6-0 defeat against No. 27 Alex Rybakov on court two. Next, Frantzen was defeated by Johnson, losing a 6-3, 7-6(3) decision at the No. 6 spot.
The 43rd-ranked Tchoutakian provided the Bears with their sole point in the match, besting No. 83 Guillermo Nunez, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 on court three.
To close out the match, the 13th-ranked Benitez fell 4-6, 6-3, 1-6, to Cameron Norrie, currently ranked No. 2 in the latest ITA singles rankings at the top of the lineup.
Although the match was decided, Will Little had forced Stadler to a winner take all third set on court five after storming back from a 5-1 deficit in the second set. Little was tied 1-1 in the third set when the match concluded.
TOP QUOTE #1
"It is always tough to lose, but it was a really good experience for our guys. We will grow from that. I think you saw a lot of the youth of our team today. You saw a poise up and down their lineup that we really lacked. It was one of those matches were in spurts we played really well, but we weren't able to sustain the level of intensity that we needed to play a team this good." - head coach Matt Knoll
Baylor is now 21-5 on the season, while TCU is 16-4.
Baylor falls to 2-2 in Big 12 play, while the Horned Frogs are 4-0.
Baylor is now 9-2 in home matches in 2017.
Baylor is 24-33 all-time against TCU, but stills hold a 19-7 advantage under head coach Matt Knoll.
Baylor will now travel to Lubbock, Texas to take on No. 45 Texas Tech. The match is set for Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.
For more information on the Baylor men's tennis team all season long, follow the team's official Twitter and Instagram account: @BaylorMTennis.