The 13th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team concluded action at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a 4-2 loss to No. 9 USC Sunday at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.
The Bears sprinted out to an early lead in doubles as Max Tchoutakian and Johannes Schretter steamrolled No. 32 Brandon Holt and Riley Smith, 6-0, at the No. 1 spot. USC answered back with its own victory on court three with Jimmy Bendeck and Will Little falling 6-2 to Rob Bellamy and Jack Jaede.
That decision left the doubles point to be decided on court two where Juan Benitez and Constantin Frantzen were battling against 35th-ranked Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven. The BU duo sent the match to a tiebreaker, but came up just short 7-6(5) to give the opening point to the Trojans.
Baylor was unable to break the momentum in singles as USC won four of six first sets and went up 2-0 when Little dropped a 6-4, 6-2 contest to the 119th-ranked Jaede on court five.
At the top of the singles lineup, the 54th-ranked Benitez got the Bears on the board by upsetting No. 13 Holt, 6-2, 7-5.
A 6-1, 6-4 loss by Frantzen to No. 97 Riley Smith at the No. 6 position extended the Trojan advantage to 3-1. However, Tchoutakian, ranked No. 57, secured BU’s second upset of the day by downing the 36th-ranked Logan Smith, 6-2, 6-3, on court two.
USC clinched the victory as Bendeck lost 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 4 spot to Crystal.
TOP QUOTE #1
"At this time of the year, it is all about figuring out where you need to improve and we definitely got a chance to do that this weekend. I was really proud of Max (Tchoutakian) and Johannes (Schretter) for bouncing back after not playing very well in doubles the last couple of days to really play some of their best tennis. We lost a tough doubles point in a tiebreaker and then we had some guys not bounce back in singles. That is something we are going to have to get better at. You battle and give it everything you got and then you got to bounce back out there and play singles. We didn’t get off to good starts on a few courts in singles and that made it tough on us against a top team." - head coach Matt Knoll on the match
For a second-straight year, BU went 1-2 at the national event, while facing three top-10 teams in 2017 (L, vs. No. 4 Cal; W, vs No. 10 Georgia; L, vs. No. 9 USC).
Baylor’s all-time record at the event is now 22-21 in 14 appearances.
Baylor is now 8-2 on the season, while USC is 11-2.
Baylor is now 6-9 all-time against USC.
Max Tchoutakian has won six-straight decisions and is undefeated in dual-match singles play.
Juan Benitez is 5-2 against ranked opponents this year.
The Bears will now return home for a doubleheader against Abilene Christian and UT Arlington on Saturday at 1 and 6 p.m., respectively.