April 27, 2014
FORT WORTH, TEXAS - The sixth-ranked Baylor men's tennis team (23-5) topped No. 3 Oklahoma (23-3) 4-3 at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center to win its eighth Big 12 postseason title on Sunday.
With the match tied at three points apiece, 16th-ranked Patrick Pradella found himself in a three-set battle with sixth-ranked Axel Alvarez Llamas on court 2. The Sooner had won the first-set 7-6(6), before Pradella forced a third set with a 6-3 win in the second.
The BU senior was serving with a 4-3 advantage in the third when all the attention turned to his court. He went on to take a 5-3 lead in the deciding set, before Alvarez held to cut the deficit to 5-4.
Pradella then served for the match and the Big 12 Championship title.
His service game lasted 28 minutes as he had six match points and faced five break points. There were 11 deuces in the game. On the sixth and final match point, Pradella aced it out up the middle for the victory. He was mobbed on the court by his teammates and earned Big 12 Most Outstanding Player honors.
Before Pradella's heroics, Baylor had opened the match by winning the doubles point.
BU claimed the first doubles victory on court three where Julian Lenz and Michel Dornbusch topped Alvarez and Guillermo Alcorta, 8-6. Oklahoma quickly responded with an 8-6 win of its own on court two where Diego Galeano and Tony Lupieri fell to Peerakit Siributwong and Nick Papac.
Attention turned to court one for the decisive match in doubles play. After jumping out to an early 4-0 lead, the 36th-ranked pairing of Patrick Pradella and Mate Zsiga were pushed by No. 29 Dane Webb and Andrew Harris. The Baylor duo eventually went on to claim an 8-6 upset win to give the Bears a 1-0 lead heading into singles play.
The momentum quickly turned in singles action as five first sets.
The Sooners evened the match with a 6-0, 6-2 win on court four as No. 38 Webb bested Mate Zsiga. Oklahoma continued to build momentum claiming a 6-1, 6-2 victory on court two where the fourth-ranked Alcorta bested second-ranked Julian Lenz.
The Oklahoma rally continued with a 7-6(2), 6-2 win by Alex Ghilea over Tony Lupieri to put the Sooners up 3-1.
With Oklahoma a point away from clinching the match, No. 104 Dornbusch answered with a huge 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 win over Austin Siegel to cut OU's lead to 3-2.
From there No. 29 Galeano evened the match with his 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 win on court three over 48th-ranked Andrew Harris. The BU junior broke Harris' serve in the second set for three straight games, after trailing 4-3 and 5-4. After breaking to tie it at 5-5, Galeano held serve and then broke the Sooner again for the 7-5 win to force a third set. Galeano then took a 5-3 lead in the third set, before Harris broke and held to tie it at 5-5. From that point Galeano held and broke to take the deciding set 7-5.
Keep up with the Bears all season long by following @BaylorMTennis on Twitter.
STAT OF THE DAY
4 - the number of times Baylor has won both the Big 12 postseason title on both the men's and women's side.
- Baylor wins its first Championship title since 2009 and the eighth postseason title in program history.
- BU has now won 20 conference titles (12 regular season and eight postseason).
- Baylor beat OU for the first time in the conference championship since 2008.
- Baylor ended a three-match losing streak to OU.
- Baylor and Oklahoma are tied in the overall series, 20-20.
- BU is 2-2 in 4-3 matches this season.
- BU has won both the regular season and conference championship in the same season 9 times, but this is the first in the last three years.
- Baylor as an athlete department has now broken the single season record for Big 12 Championships in a single season with seven. Overall, BU has won 58 Big 12 titles.
TOP QUOTE #1
"I always think we can pull it out. I had a lot of confidence in all the guys that were out there. Diego's guy served for the match in the second set and when he broke there I thought that we had a path. I really felt like Patrick would get it done and I really thought Michel would get it done. Momentum was so radically on their side (when we were down 3-1). Their crowd was into it, but it is hard to cheer when you are getting drilled and we were getting drilled, but we hung in there." -Head coach Matt Knoll on being down 3-1 and getting the win.
TOP QUOTE #2
"I am proud of our guys. I had looked at some scores around the country where teams had lost the doubles and a bunch of first sets and had still gone on to win the match. I brought that to practice and said, `look we are going to have to do this to achieve what we want to achieve.' Today was that day." -Knoll on the comeback upset win.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
Baylor's next match will be in the first round of the NCAA Championships. The team will host a watch party on Tuesday during the NCAA selection show where the Bears will find out who they will face in the first round of action.