no. 12 MT Beats No. 9 Florida State, 4-2
Baylor Bear Insider
There’s just something about the ITA Kickoff Weekend that brings out the best in the 12th-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team.
Remaining unbeaten in the Kickoff Weekend and advancing to its 12thth-straight ITA National Team Indoor Championships, the Bears (5-1) knocked off ninth-ranked Florida State, 4-2, Saturday night before a standing-room-only crowd at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.
“People say that we were underdogs coming into this match, even though we were playing at home,” said junior Tadeas Paroulekwho battled through muscle cramps to clinch it with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over the Seminoles’ Lorris Pourroy on Court 2.
“There were some doubts about our team. We lost three players from last year, and we have a bunch of freshmen. People don’t know what to expect from us, but I think we have a lot of talent and I’m sure that we’re going to prove it the rest of the season.”
Surviving arguably the toughest of the 15 Kickoff Weekend sites, Baylor knocked off Arizona State, 4-2, in Friday’s opening round, then won a 3 ½-hour marathon against a veteran Florida State (5-1) team that beat then-No. . 7 Georgia earlier this month.
“I didn’t think it was going to be that physical, especially indoors,” Baylor coach Michael Woodson said, “but it’s toasty in here, especially after playing outside in pretty cold weather (on Friday). Just a heck of an effort for our guys, not taking their hands out of the fire.”
The Bears started it off by winning a tight doubles point that included the No. 2 tandem of Paroulek and freshman Zsombor Velcz beating FSU’s Maks Silagy and Joshua Dous-Karpenschif. Overcoming a 15-40 deficit in the last game, the third-ranked duo of Finn Bass and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzucci clinched it with a 6-3 win at No. 1 over Barnaby Smith and Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc.
Winning four of the six first sets in singles, Baylor got another point on the board when Marko Miladinovic made quick work of Andreja Petrovic, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 3. Velcz made it 3-0 by dominating a first-set tiebreaker and getting a late service break in upsetting 53rd-ranked Jamie Connell, 7-6(3), 6-3, on Court 5.
“This was a big change from who he was on the road and who he was today,” Woodson said of Miladinovic, who dropped a straight-set match in last Sunday’s 4-0 loss at No. 1 Virginia. “You wouldn’t recognize him. Just an incredible effort. He’s been playing amazing tennis since the end of September. But to see him compete like this is what’s starting to stretch some scores.”
The Seminoles responded with straight-set wins at Nos. 1 and 4 to get within 3-2 and took the remaining two matches to third sets. Bass lost 6-4, 6-2 to 12th-ranked Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc at No. 1, then 24th-ranked Youcef Rihane got a late break in beating Grassi Mazzuchi, 6-3, 6-4, on Court 4.
Pourroy suffered severe cramps in his left leg and had to take a medical break early in the third set against Paroulek. After winning five-straight games to go up 5-1, Paroulek started cramping as well, but was able to finish it off when Pourroy hit long on match point.
Ethan Muza, who was also fighting through cramps, was leading 7-5, 6-7(4), 5-4 at No. 6 when the match was clinched.
“It was a really tough fight,” Paroulek said. “I just think we were tougher than them.”
Improving to 5-1 all-time versus Florida State and 24-0 in ITA Kickoff Weekend matches, Baylor advances to next month’s ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago. Before then, the Bears will face a grueling stretch of No. 4 Michigan on Friday, third-ranked TCU on Feb. 8 and no. 14 Arizona on Feb. 10 – all at home – and second-ranked Ohio State on Feb. 16 in Columbus, Ohio.
WACO, Texas – The no. 12 Baylor men’s tennis team battled in front of a standing room only crowd at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center on Saturday night.
Baylor (5-1) struck first by winning the doubles point and then singles points on courts three and five before fighting for the clinch point between third-set tiebreaks on courts two and six.
The Bears continued their undefeated doubles streak at home, clinching the point behind Finn Bass and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzucci’s 6-3 win on one over Barnaby Smith and A. Cornut-Chauvinc, and Tadeas Paroulek and Zsombor Velcz’s 6-4 win on two over Maks Silagy and J. Dous-Karpenschif.
Ethan Muza and Luc Koenig’s The match was left unfinished while the Seminoles had a 5-2 lead.
In singles, the Bears turned to ole reliable on court four for the first doubles point, as Marko Miladinović got win no. 5 this spring, 6-1, 6-1 over FSU’s Andreja Petrovic. Velcz also upped his singles win count to five, defeating Jamie Conel on five 7-6(3), 6-3.
The Seminoles got two points from a win from No. 12 Cornut-Chauvinc, 6-4, 6-2, over No. 23 Bass, and No. 24 Youcef Rihane over no. 115 Grassi Mazzucci, 6-3, 6-4.
The final points came down to tiebreaks on courts two and six. The Bears kept their undefeated streak in kick-off play alive with Paroulek clinching the match on court two, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, beating Loris Pourroy.
Muza was also close to a win in his tiebreak on six, leaving his match unfinished with only a few points to go before the win.
- Baylor is 24-0 in ITA Kickoff Weekend.
- BU extends its home win streak to 13.
- The Bears move to a 5-1 doubles point record.
- BU is 5-0 when they win the doubles point.
- Baylor now leads the all-time series against Florida State 5-1.
- no. 59 Velcz/Paroulek are undefeated in doubles at 5-0.
- Marko Miladinović and Zsombor Velcz lead the Bears in singles wins, with their tally updated to five this spring.
STATE OF THE GAME
24 – Matches won consecutively by the Bears in ITA Kickoff Weekend
Head coach Michael Woodson
On winning the doubles point…
“We saved seven points in a row, basically, and then broke, and then held on to a point to win it. I’ll say, since I’ve been in high school, I’ll never run around on the court firing up people, but this time I felt like there was an incredible crowd out here and they’re dying to get behind us and we needed somebody to have a spark – that’s normally doubles. But they got down, they weren’t playing great, and so I thought when we got those breaks, they responded amazingly. It was an incredible effort from the guys, start to finish.”
On a quick start to singles play with Marko…
“We really challenge him, because he can be results-oriented, and he can be striking the ball-oriented. He’s a high-level player as we all know, but he played an incredible match against Virginia. He didn’t say a word, the whole time. Nothing. And if you scream, if you get fired up with all the other guys, I think you might’ve won that match. But we’re going to do it now, we don’t care. Hit every ball out and yell. This was a big change from who he was on the road and who he was today. You wouldn’t recognize him. Just an incredible effort, he’s been playing amazing tennis since the end of September, but to see him compete like this is what’s starting to stretch some scores.”
On the mental toughness of the team…
“They love each other more than any other team in the country. I would go as far as to say that. So when we talk about how it’s going to get hard somewhere, and things aren’t going to go exactly as expected, you have to keep going. Off the court, stay focused. On the court, stay focused. Doesn’t matter if you’re 6-0, 5-0, keep fighting. Stay out there as long as you can, and we saw that. Ethan’s match, that won us the match, to make us feel like we aren’t just down a point. Nothing like what happened where Marko put a quick point on the board happened against us, and I feel like that’s some court pressure that ultimately gets us over the fence.”
The no. 12 Baylor Bears welcome Michigan to Waco Feb. 3 at 6 p.m
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