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Men’s Tennis Earns NCAA First Round Victory

ATHENS, Ga. -- The 35th-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team upset No. 22 Florida State, 4-3, in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Championships Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

The win advanced Baylor (16-13) to the second round of the national tournament for the 15th-straight season and 17th-time overall in program history.

Senior Felipe Rios provided the match-clinching point at the No. 3 singles position as he shook off a close loss in a first-set tiebreaker to force a third set. Rios rolled to a big second-set win, 6-2, and took a 4-0 lead in the third set.

After a late run by Florida State’s Michael Rinaldi to close the gap, Rios took the next two games to win, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3, and sent BU to the second round.

Prior to the dramatic finish, Baylor got off to a slow start in doubles play. Senior Julian Lenz and junior Tyler Stayer dropped a 6-0 loss to Jose Gracia and Terrance Whitehurst on court three to give FSU an early advantage.

Junior Max Tchoutakian and freshman Tommy Podvinski were in the midst of a tiebreaker on court one, trailing 6-2, before FSU’s Aziz Dougaz and Rinaldi took a 6-4 win over senior Felipe Rios and freshman Jimmy Bendeck on court two.

With Florida State (18-9) leading 1-0 early, No. 91 Max Tchoutakian tied up the score with a 6-1, 6-4 upset victory over No. 76 Marco Nunez at the No. 2 position.

The Seminoles took a 2-1 lead when Stayer fell 6-1, 6-4 to Whitehurst on court six, but BU would tie it up again with No. 12 Lenz’s 6-2, 7-6(4) upset win over No. 11 Benjamin Lock at the top of the lineup.

The Bears took the 3-2 lead after Bendeck shook off a 7-6(1) first-set loss and rolled to a 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Dougaz on court four.

Florida State’s Gracia downed Podvinski 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 on court five to determine the match at the No. 3 spot and tie the team score at 3-3.

NOTABLES
• Baylor advances to the NCAA second round for the 15th-straight season and 17th-time overall under head coach Matt Knoll.
• Baylor now leads Florida State 3-1 in the all-time series, including 3-0 mark under Knoll with wins in 2006, 2012 and 2016.
• Julian Lenz’s upset victory gave him his 14th win over a ranked opponent this season, stretching his singles win streak to nine matches.
• Baylor is now 3-8 this season after dropping the doubles point.
• Felipe Rios improves his singles record to 17-11 and 14-8 in dual-match play.

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