Baylor Men’s Tennis Readies for BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Baylor Men’s Tennis Readies for BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge

WACO, Texas - The 21st-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team will play three-straight top-15 opponents at the BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Tennis Challenge Presented by Oracle Friday through Sunday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.

Baylor (11-4) looks to expand its current six-match winning streak, most recently topping Prairie View A&M three times on Monday.

"If you've watched our team all season, you can see that the guys have gotten a lot better,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “I think we've really come together as a group. The guys are embracing what we're trying to do, and we're really jacked up about playing these matches against these top teams."

The Bears first face No. 11 Illinois Friday at 1 p.m. CT, followed by a matchup with No. 14 California Saturday at noon CT. Baylor wraps up the three-day event with a showdown against No. 12 USC at noon CT on Sunday.

Baylor has participated in the Challenge in all three seasons since the event was added to the BNP Paribas Open tournament in 2013. BU went 2-1 last season at the event, sweeping BYU and upending No. 4 USC. The Bears eventually fell to top-ranked Oklahoma in the semifinals.

Baylor and Illinois are tied 5-5 in the all-time series, but the Bears hold a 5-4 lead under Knoll. In the last meeting, the Bears dropped its 2015 season opener to the Fighting Illini (7-6) at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.

Illinois is currently on a two-match losing streak, most recently dropping a tight 4-3 decision to No. 7 Northwestern in its Big Ten opener on Saturday.

BU leads the all-time series against California, 5-1, last falling to the Golden Bears in 2012. In the last meeting, Baylor recorded a 4-1 victory over Cal on March 15, 2014.

Cal boasts a 7-2 record with its most recent victory over Purdue, 6-1, on Sunday.

Baylor trails the all-time series against USC, 7-6. The team’s most recent victory came at the 2015 NCAA quarterfinals where the Bears earned the program’s fifth national semifinal appearance with a 4-2 win on May 16.

The Trojans (8-3) head into the weekend matchup with a recent 7-0 sweep over Tulsa on March 12.

Live scoring for all three matches will be available on BaylorBears.com.

Senior Julian Lenz leads the Bears with a No. 17 ITA singles ranking, boasting a 10-1 singles record heading into the weekend. BU has another ranked singles player in junior Max Tchoutakian, coming in at No. 56. Lenz teams up with redshirt freshman Will Little to be the 12th-ranked doubles duo in the latest ITA rankings.

Furthermore, No. 17 Lenz looks to move up in the Baylor career singles record book, currently tied at No. 8 with Matija Zgaga with 103 singles wins. Former teammate Mate Zsiga currently stands at No. 6 with 106 wins.

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