April 25, 2009
The seventh-ranked men's tennis team beat the 21st-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys for the second time in six days, 4-1, to earn a spot in tomorrow's Big 12 Championship Final at 11 a.m. against No. 15 Texas at the Headington Tennis Center in Norman, Okla.
"I thought Oklahoma State did a great job," Baylor head coach Matt Knoll said. "They made it tough for us. We had to fight on every court. I think it's a real credit to (OSU) Coach (James) Wadley that those guys came out and played us so tough."
The Bears raised their record to 22-5 and extended their win streak to 11-matches, while the Cowboys fell to 14-7. Baylor has now won 17 of its last 19 matches and improved to 27-6 all-time in Big 12 championship play. The Bears have never lost the opening match of a Big 12 Tournament, improving to 13-0.
In doubles play, Baylor made quick work of the Cowboys earning the point by winning at the No. 2 and 3 courts. The No. 2 duo of Denes Lukacs and Maros Horny were first off, after winning eight of nine points to close out the OSU pair of Mikhail Trukshanin and Igor Sobolta, 8-2. The No. 3 team of Dominik Mueller and Julian Bley followed suit, also winning eight of the last nine points to claim the match, 8-3.
"Our doubles have improved," Knoll said. "I am pleased with some of the plays we are making. We are doing some good things out there. Generally speaking doubles was a great performance today."
The Bears rolled off of their doubles win by winning five of the six first sets in singles play. However, the Cowboys would not go away quietly. After, Mueller and Horny won at positions three and six to give the Bears a 3-0 lead, the Cowboys grabbed a victory as Olesandr Nedovyesov beat Lukacs 6-1, 6-3. The loss ended Lukacs' 13-match win streak. Jordan Rux would clinch the match for the Bears with a 6-4, 7-6(7) win over Nathan Brynes.
"We definitely lost our mojo a little bit once we won so many first sets," Knoll said. "It is something we are going to have to do better tomorrow if we are going to have a chance."
The Bears improved to 17-8 all-time versus Oklahoma State and during Matt Knoll's tenure Baylor is 17-3 against the Cowboys.
In tomorrow's match the Bears will square off against the third seeded Texas Longhorns. Every year since a 2001 semifinal loss to Texas, the Bears have made it to the finals match of the Championships, winning the final match six of those seven years. It will be the fourth straight year that the Longhorns and the Bears have met in the final of the championships, with the Bears winning two of those three previous match-ups.
"I think Texas, by far, has the most talented team in the league," Knoll said. "We know we are going to have our hands full. We'll have to play our best tennis to have a chance."
Baylor defeated the Longhorns 6-1 on April 2 in Austin in conference play earlier this year.
Live stats for tomorrow's championship final match will be available on Baylorbears.com courtesy of Soonersports.com.
***Please Note Time Change of Championship Match***