Jan. 20, 2009
- Baylor's men's tennis team will begin its dual match season with two straight away matches beginning Thursday, Jan. 22, with a trip to Dallas to face the No. 43 SMU Mustangs. The Bears, ranked No. 7 in the initial Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) team rankings, will then travel to Gainesville, Florida for showdown with the 10th ranked Florida Gators on Sunday, Jan. 25.
"It's our first opportunity to get the rust off and build for the future," said head coach Matt Knoll. "Our guys are going to have to be prepared to play a team that does all of the little things right."
The Bears go into Thursday's match, returning five players off last season's 25-9 squad including ITA All-American Denes Lukacs, a junior. Sophomore Jordan Rux, after an outstanding fall season, leads the Bears with a ranking of No. 13, the highest of his career. Lukacs follows at No. 21 while junior Attila Bucko is No. 40 and junior Dominik Mueller ranks No. 72.
Baylor will be the first spring opponent for SMU who counters with 118th ranked Artem Borodach, a sophomore, and junior Robin Fahgen, a first-team All-Conference USA selection last season.
The Bears are 14-28 all-time versus SMU in a rivalry that dates back to 1970, but have won the last 11 matches since 2002.
On Sunday the Bears will then face Florida, who will be coming off its first dual match of the season on Friday, Jan. 23, when they host Furman at 3 p.m.
The Gators are led by freshman Joey Burkhardt, who was ranked 64th nationally, and is coming off a strong fall season in which he posted an 11-4 record in singles play, No. 66 Tyler Hochwalt, a sophomore, who finished the fall campaign with an 11-5 mark, and freshman Carlos Cueto, who tallied an 8-1 record in the fall including a win over Hochwalt in the finals of the Seminole Invitational, is ranked 87th in the national poll.
Baylor is 4-2 against the University of Florida all-time, with the Bears winning last season's battle in Waco, 5-2.
Live stats for the match against Florida can be found on GatorZone.com.