Baylor Men's Tennis Set For Big 12 Championship

Posted at 9:28 PM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-26 22:28:31-04

The sixth-ranked and No. 3 seed Baylor men's tennis team will open its 2017 Big 12 Championship run against No. 41 and sixth-seeded Texas Tech Thursday at the Headington Family Tennis Center in Norman, Okla.

BU (21-6, 2-3 Big 12) will play its quarterfinal matchup against the Red Raiders at 10 a.m. CT. Baylor dropped a 4-3 decision to TTU (11-14, 1-4) on April 22 in the final regular season match for both teams in Lubbock.

All-time, Baylor is 13-1 in quarterfinal matches, last falling in the first year of the tournament (1997).

Live scoring of the matches will be available for via links on FloTennis will live stream the quarterfinal and semifinal matches, while FSN will have coverage of the championship match.

The Bears have produced a 36-12 record overall in Big 12 Championship play. Baylor has been at the top of the championship podium eight times. BU?has won the event four out of the last 10 years and earned four straight titles from 2002-05. The Bears have made the finals 14 times, including in four of the last five seasons. They are 8-6 in title matches.

The 43rd-ranked Bears entered the 2016 Big 12 Championship in Stillwater, Okla. as the No. 5 seed and upset No. 15 and fourth-seeded Oklahoma State, 4-2, in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal round, BU was beaten by top-seeded Texas Tech, 4-3.

This is the third time in program history that the Bears have been the No. 3 seed at the event. Going 1-1 in 2010 and 0-1 in 2011.

Sophomore Johannes Schretter currently leads the team with a 19-2 mark in singles dual-match action. Meanwhile, senior Max Tchoutakian is 15-2 and has won four-straight decisions. Those two players have split time at the No. 2 and 3 spots in the lineup and they were both 4-1 in Big 12 play.

Baylor enters the conference championship looking to halt a two-match losing streak that ended the regular season. Baylor is 17-10 in doubles points this season and then 16-1 in matches when winning the doubles point and 5-5 when dropping the opening point.

A Baylor victory in the quarterfinal round of the conference championship will advance the Bears to the semifinals for the 20th time in the event's 21st year. BU would then face No. 2 seeded Oklahoma State at 10 a.m. Friday.

Sophomore Juan Benitez leads the Bears with a No. 14 ITA singles ranking, boasting a 16-7 dual-match singles record. BU has two other ranked singles player in senior Max Tchoutakian at No. 44 and Johannes Schretter coming in at No. 59. Benitez also pairs up with Will Little to be No. 17 in the doubles ranking. Tchoutakian and Schretter are listed at No. 69, while Schretter and Jimmy Bendeck are the No. 86 ranked doubles tandem.

Baylor ended its regular season with a 4-3 loss at then-No. 45 Texas Tech. BU dropped the doubles point and fell behind, 3-0, before battling back to tie the match 3-3. The contest came down to the No. 5 spot where BU’s freshman Constantin Frantzen suffered a 7-6, 4-6, 7-6(8) defeat. 

The Red Raiders come into the match with an 11-14 season record and a 1-4 mark in conference play. Texas Tech has a pair of ranked singles players in No. 29 Jolan Cailleau and No. 79 Bjorn Thomson.

• Baylor is 2-1 against Texas Tech at the Big 12 Championship. Last season, BU dropped a 4-3 contest to the Red Raiders in the semifinals of the event.
• Texas Tech leads the all-time series between the two schools, 30-28.
• Under Knoll, Baylor leads the series, 22-5. 
• BU has lost four-straight matches to the Red Raiders.
• The Bears have won 12 of the last 13 matchups against the Cowboys.

"I think we just got to look at it as playing Texas Tech. We just have to focus on that. There is not much to it beyond that. We want to just focus on this match and try to play a good match. We need to continue to improve on the things we need to improve on. We are really lucky because we have play a tough schedule and you learn a lot doing that. The guys are really excited about getting out and improving and this will be a chance to move forward." --head coach Matt Knoll on preparing for the weekend

"I think when you are ranked No. 6 in the country that you know you are a pretty good team. We are not intimidated by anybody certainly, but that is why we are here. Our guys came to Baylor because they wanted to be on a team that competed at the highest level. It is just a matter of us continuing to improve and staying focused down the stretch." --Knoll on his team