May 30, 2005
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Benedikt Dorsch added an exclamation point to his stellar Baylor career by claiming the NCAA singles championship on Monday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M University.
Dorsch, a senior from Weiden, Germany, posted a two-set win in the championship match over the University of San Diego's Pierrik Ysern, 6-2, 7-6(6).
Dorsch, who finished the season with a 36-2 record, took a 4-0 lead in the first set, breaking Ysern twice during that span. Ysern, a native of Paris, France, countered by holding serve then breaking Dorsch's serve to move to within 4-2. Dorsch immediately broke back then held serve to close out the first match 6-2.
The second match provided much more drama. The two players each held serve until the fifth game when Dorsch broke Ysern's serve. The San Diego player lost the final two points of the game by hitting the ball into the net and then hitting one that sailed both wide and long. In the 10th game, Ysern evened the match when he broke Dorsch's serve. In that game, Ysern leaped out to a 30-0 lead but Dorsch delivered a service ace to get on the board. Dorsch then hit a forehand into the net and Ysern netted an overhead to make the score 40-30. Ysern took the game to even the set at 5-5 with a crosscourt chip shot that landed just over the net. Dorsch and Ysern both held serve which forced a tiebreaker.
For the first seven points of the tiebreaker, Dorsch was dominant, leaping out to a 6-1 lead. He gained his first point when Ysern had a foot fault on his serve. With Dorsch serving twice, Ysern's service return was long then with Dorsch at the net, Ysern's crosscourt backhand sailed wide. Dorsch went up 4-0 with a crosscourt backhand to the corner. Ysern finally got on the scoreboard with a forehand rip that landed in the left corner. Dorsch gained two more points to make it 6-1 when Ysern mishit two forehands, one into the net and one long. With Dorsch needing just one more point to secure the title, Ysern turned up the intensity and scored six straight points to even the match. During that six-point span, Ysern hit two forehand baseline winners, Dorsch sent a backhand lob long, Ysern drilled a backhand service return down the line which landed on the line and then, after a long rally, hit a sharp angled crosscourt forehand for a winner. Now with the tiebreak score at 6-6, Dorsch needed two points to close out the match. Ysern committed two unforced errors, a forehand that sailed long and a backhand that landed wide to give Dorsch the 7-6(6) second set win.
"I am glad that I was able to end my career on such a high note," said Dorsch. "It was really important to end it in two sets today, I've played a lot of tennis over the past 10 days. I felt that I played a really good match, taking Ysern out of his game."
The win by Dorsch gave Baylor a sweep of NCAA singles championships, Baylor freshman Zuzana Zemenova won the women's title on Saturday in Athens, Ga. That feat has happened only four other times, three of which were by Stanford. The most recent occurrence came in 2000 when Stanford's Alex Kim and Laura Granville each won.
In addition, the win by Dorsch gives Baylor back-to-back NCAA singles championships, Benjamin Becker won the 2004 crown. That has now happened only twice in the past 30 years, Stanford's Jared Palmer and Alex O'Brien were the first to accomplish it in 1991-92.
Dorsch ends his illustrious three-year career as a six-time All-American, three in singles and three in doubles, a 36-2 record in his final season and a career singles mark of 119-15. He is Baylor's all-time leader in win percentage in both singles and doubles with an .880 singles mark and has .790 (83-22) doubles mark. In addition, he is a three-time Big 12 Player of the Year, 2004 ITA Player of the Year and will undoubtedly duplicate the honor this season. He has twice been named most outstanding player of the NCAA Championships (2005 and 2005). During Dorsch's three years at Baylor he has led the team to a 93-5 record, three Big 12 championships, both regular season and Big 12 Tournament), a team NCAA title (2004), and a team runnerup finish (2005).
"I think, over the past couple of years, we've been able to take this program to the next level," said Dorsch. That's an understatement.