INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Despite having an early lead, the 21st-ranked Baylor men's tennis team suffered a 4-2 loss to No. 11 Illinois Friday afternoon at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Baylor (11-5) dropped four-straight singles matches to the Fighting Illini (8-6) to end the opening match of the BNP Paribas Collegiate Tennis Challenge presented by Oracle.
The Bears jumped out to an early doubles advantage after senior Felipe Rios and freshman Jimmy Bendeck recorded a quick 6-1 victory over Julian Childers and Pengxuan Jiang at the No. 3 spot.
Seconds later, junior Max Tchoutakian and freshman Tommy Podvinski fell 6-0 at the No. 2 spot, leaving the decision to court one.
BU clinched the doubles point against the Fighting Illini with a 6-2 win from the 12th-ranked duo of senior Julian Lenz and redshirt freshman Will Little at the top of the lineup. The duo is now 10-1 on the season and has won nine-straight matches together.
Baylor blew past its opening sets on courts five and six, but Illinois claimed the first sets on the top four courts. Bendeck quickly followed his doubles performance with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Pablo Landa at the No. 5 spot, giving Baylor an early 2-0 lead.
Illinois secured its first point of the afternoon after the 56th-ranked Tchoutakian fell 6-2, 6-2 to sixth-ranked Aleks Vukic on court two. No. 17 Lenz was unable to push his match to a third set as he lost 6-1, 6-4 to eighth-ranked Jared Hiltzik at the top of the lineup. It was only Lenz’s second loss of the season, moving him to 10-2.
Baylor ended the match with a close 7-5, 6-2 loss by Little at the No. 4 spot.
• Baylor now trails the all-time series against Illinois, 6-5. Baylor is now 5-5 against the Fighting Illini under head coach Matt Knoll.
• Julian Lenz and Will Little are 10-1 in doubles play and are winners of nine-straight matches.
• Baylor is now 9-2 after winning the doubles point.
Baylor plays its second match of the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge against No. 14 California Saturday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif. The match is slated for a 12 p.m. CT start.