Baylor’s Benitez Named Big 12 Player of the Week

Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 23:47:25-04

Baylor men's tennis sophomore Juan Benitez was named the Big 12 Player of the Week Tuesday, after going 3-0 in singles play against top-50 ranked players, and winning two out of his three doubles matches alongside Will Little, at the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge Presented by Oracle this past weekend in Indian Wells, Calif.

At the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Benitez’s victories came against the No. 14, No. 16 and 50th-ranked players in the country. He won his first two singles matches in straight sets over SMU’s Ronald Slobodchikov (No. 50) and the 14th-ranked Florian Lakat of California.

In Baylor’s last match of the tournament, Benitez posted a pivotal 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory against USC’s 16th-ranked Brandon Holt to help the Bears mount a major comeback in the tournament’s final. BU won its first ever BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge, 4-3, over the then-seventh ranked Trojans. The Bears went 3-0 in three days of action at the event, defeating No. 13 California and 33rd-ranked SMU, before taking out USC in the final

In doubles play, Benitez and Little teamed up to win two of their three matches. On Friday, the duo knocked off SMU’s 18th-ranked Yates Johnson and Hunter Johnson, 6-4. The BU pairing would go on to defeat the No. 1 doubles pairing in the country Saturday, downing California’s Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat, 6-4.

Benitez and Little’s wins in both of those matches helped the Bears win the doubles points.

Benitez improved to 18-3 overall this season in singles, including 9-3 record vs. ranked opponents. 

It is Baylor's 42nd Big 12 weekly honor since 2000. Benitez is one of 17 different Bears to be recognized in that stretch. It is the second time Benitez has won the honor in 2017, after being awarded the accolade on Jan. 17 as well.

BU will host a dual-match doubleheader on Sunday at the Hurd Tennis Center. The Bears will face Memphis at 2 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. match vs. Prairie View A&M.