GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The 20th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team pulled off the biggest upset in a string of five straight wins, knocking off 16th-ranked Florida on Saturday at Linder Stadium.
"It was a blast out there today," said head coach Matt Knoll. "The guys really came together and looked like a Baylor men's tennis team. We competed hard. We were focused. We were resilient and stayed together. Every time you go on the road all of those things are really important. We got into a tough match that was super competitive from beginning to end and fortunately we were able to come through in the end."
With the five straight wins, Baylor has raised its record to 7-1, while Florida falls to 6-4.
The match started with the Bears claiming the doubles point for the seventh time this season. Baylor's Julian Lenz and Patrick Pradella defeated the No. 46 doubles team of Mike Alford and Florent Diep, 8-3. Following that win on court two, Baylor's Diego Galeano and Marko Krickovic disposed of Florida's Billy Federhofer and Luke Johnson, 8-5, to give Baylor the early 1-0 lead.
The Gators fought their way back into the match by winning the first two singles points. Florida's Stephane Piro struck first with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Baylor's Tony Lupieri in the No. 3 spot.
Florida continued the comeback with a victory by Luke Johnson, 7-5, 6-3, over Diego Galeano on court six.
The Bears answered back with a decisive win in the No. 1 spot where Patrick Pradella defeated Florida's No. 78 Bob van Overbeek 6-4, 6-4.
The momentum was short lived for the Bears as Florida quickly countered with a 7-6 (7-4),1-6, 6-4 victory by Billy Federhofer over 56th-ranked Marko Krickovic in the No. 5 spot. The win put the Gators within one point of clinching the match with two contests still on court.
Baylor's No. 76 Mate Zsiga came up with a match-tying 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Florida's Mike Alford in the No. 4 spot, leaving the fate of the match to be decided on court two.
In a back and forth brawl, No. 59 Julian Lenz sealed the Baylor victory by defeating No. 36 Florent Diep 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
"I felt like we would play a good match in terms of our focus level," said Knoll. "We didn't do that last time we played on the road against a good team. That was gratifying to see the guys come out and get into the match with the kind of energy that you need to beat these kinds of teams. This was a huge step for us, and winning was sort of a bonus. We gained a lot from just being in the environment and being able to win. Julian Lenz did a fantastic job out there in the third set of just being out there and playing his game and being aggressive."
Baylor's win tied the all-time series record between the two teams at 6-6.
The Bears will return to action next Saturday when they welcome Laredo Community College and Abilene Christian for the team's second doubleheader of the season. Following Saturday's doubleheader, the Bears will host three top-10 teams including No. 1 Virginia.
"We needed something like this to happen to this group and now it has," said coach Knoll. "We will grow a lot from this and be better because of it. That is why we are here. We knew Florida would push us and give us an opportunity to play good matches and it was exactly what we hoped for."
Follow @BaylorMTennis for updates on the team all season.