WACO, Texas - The 26th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team claimed 7-0 victories over Laredo Community College and Abilene Christian on Saturday. The wins give the Bears seven victories in a row and improve their overall season record to 9-1.
"We felt great about the result today," head coach Matt Knoll said. "It is a great day to be a Baylor Bear and we are excited for next weekend. You never know what is going to happen and you may need guys to be ready to play. I think some guys who haven't played consistently were able to get out there and get some wins and confidence. They have been helping us in practice and getting a chance to play is awesome."
Match No. 1 vs. Laredo CC
In the first match played at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center, the Bears took the doubles point by winning the first two matchups with identical 8-0 victories on courts two and three. The Bears were able to complete the sweep of doubles points on court one where Patrick Pradella and Tony Lupieri topped Laredo's Hamid Derbani and Hector Ramirez, 8-3.
Baylor carried the momentum into the singles matches. No. 77 Marko Krickovic was first to strike with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Eman Esfandi. Robbie Korth was soon to follow in the No. 6 spot with another 6-0, 6-0 victory that extended Baylor's lead in the match to 3-0.
The Bears claimed the match point with a win on court 5 where Robert Verzaal disposed of Laredo's Alex Infante 6-0, 6-0. Tony Lupieri claimed Baylor's fifth point with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Luis Hernandez in the No. 2 spot, before Roberto Maytin toped Hector Ramirez 6-4, 6-3, at the No. 3 position.
The first match concluded with a 6-4, 6-2 win by Baylor's No. 122 Patrick Pradella vs. Hamid Derbani at the top of the lineup.
The win over Laredo CC improves the Bears' overall series record against the Palominos to 4-0.
Match No. 2 vs. Abilene Christian
In the second match of the day played at the Hurd Tennis Center, Baylor was again able to claim the doubles point with wins on all three courts. Baylor's Diego Galeano and Marko Krickovic were first to finish with an 8-1 victory on court 2 over Abilene's Jason Proctor and Guilherme Gesser. Julian Lenz and Robert Verzaal soon followed with an 8-2 win on court 3. The final doubles match ended with an 8-3 victory on court 1 by Patrick Pradella and Roberto Maytin.
No. 78 Mate Zsiga was the first Baylor player to record a win in singles action with a 6-0, 6-1 victory in the No. 3 spot. The 77th-ranked Krickovic followed in the No. 4 spot wining 6-0, 6-2 over Abilene's Gesser.
Baylor's Galeano clinched the team victory in the No. 5 spot with a score of 6-3, 6-3. Robert Verzaal claimed his match by winning a three-set tiebreak over Alfredo Desiati 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5), before Baylor's 43rd-ranked Julian Lenz completed the 7-0 sweep in the No. 1 spot by a score of 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) over Hans Hach.
With the win over Abilene Christian, BU moves to 9-1 on the season and improves to 9-3 in the overall series with the Wildcats.
The Bears will be back in action on Thursday as they host No. 6 Kentucky. Thursday's match will mark the first of three matches against top ten opponents. Following the Kentucky match, the Bears will host No. 3 UCLA and No.1 Virgina.
"It is a huge opportunity for us," said Knoll. "We are going to play Kentucky who is No. 6 in the country and has had a great start their season. We know that they are going to be super talented and they are going to be up. They lost to us last year down there at their place, so they will be jumping up and down ready to go and we are going to have to match their energy."
To stay up to date with the team all season follow @BaylorMTennis on Twitter.