BU will be playing its first match in newly-built Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.
WACO, Texas - The 15th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team will face SMU on Friday at 7 p.m. in the first home match of 2013 and the first-ever dual-match in the Jim and Nell Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.
"This is a transformational moment for our program," head coach Matt Knoll said. "We are really thankful to Jim and Nell Hawkins for making it possible. The indoor courts have created a lot of enthusiasm within our team. The guys just want to be in there, because it is a superior environment for tennis. The lighting is amazing. The surface is amazing. We are really looking forward to this special night."
The match between the Bears and Mustangs will cap a process that began in 2011 as plans for the six-court indoor facility were unveiled. Between the singles and doubles portion of the contest, a grand opening ceremony will take place at the facility with the Hawkinses being recognized.
On the season, BU is 1-0, after winning at Hawai'i, 6-1, on Jan. 12. Since that time a group of five Bears also competed at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup in individual singles and doubles play.
The Bears have three ranked singles players including sophomore Marko Krickovic at No. 50, who boasts an 11-5 overall mark. Freshman Julian Lenz is No. 53 with an 11-4 overall record. Sophomore Mate Zsiga is 10-4 and ranked 60th. Krickovic and partner Robert Verzaal makeup the lone BU tandem to be ranked at No. 47 with a 10-4 mark.
SMU comes into the contest with a 0-3 record, but two of those losses have been against top-30 competition in No. 23 Texas, 5-2, and No. 26 Texas A&M, 7-0.
In their last match out, the Mustangs suffered a 4-3 loss vs. Nicholls State on Sunday. SMU is coached by Carl Neufeld, who is in his 20th year at the helm of the program. The Mustangs have one ranked singles player in No. 83 Arturs Kazijevs.
"SMU has a great coach," Knoll said. "He is very, very good about getting the most out of his players. They are going to play incredibly good doubles and will be a really good test for us."
In the last meeting between the two schools, Baylor blanked the Mustangs, 7-0, on March 1, 2012, at the Hurd Tennis Center. However, the Bears are 19-28 in the overall series. Under Knoll, BU is 17-3 vs. SMU with 16 straight wins in the series.
Currently, Baylor is on an 18-match home-opener win streak with its last loss coming in 1995 to UT-San Antonio. Baylor owns a perfect 16-0 home-opener record under Knoll. During their 43-year history, Baylor is 30-13 in home openers.
During the month of January, the Bears have produced a 32-7 record under Knoll. Overall, Knoll is 206-28 at home, including a 163-12 mark over the last 11 years.
Following the tussle with the Mustangs, Baylor will head back on the road to face 24th-ranked Tulsa at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on Feb. 3 at 1 p.m.
Live scoring and a live blog will be available during the match on BaylorBears.com with a complete recap to follow the match. To stay up-to-date with the team all season follow @BaylorMTennis on Twitter.