May 15, 2010

WACO, Texas - The eighth-ranked Baylor men's tennis team won its ninth-straight NCAA Championship first round match with a 4-0 blanking of Oral Roberts (7-9) on Saturday afternoon at the Baylor Tennis Center.

"We came out very good. It is NCAA's these guy know what is going on," head coach Matt Knoll said "They know what is at stake. I think we had really good focus and I think that is going to translate into playing some really good tennis. I think it is about coming out and focusing and controlling the things you can control and I thought we did that. We didn't make things tough on ourselves."

Baylor (22-6) improves to 36-11 all-time in NCAA tournament play and raises its record in first round matches to 11-2 with nine of those wins being 4-0 sweeps.

The seventh-seeded Bears will now take on 33rd-ranked Rice at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Baylor Tennis Center with a chance to move on to the round of 16 on the line. The final four rounds of the 2010 NCAA Championships will be held May 21-25 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Rice took down No. 25 Washington, 4-3, on Saturday to advance to the second round.

"They have got a good team," Knoll said of Rice. "They have played a lot of good teams competitively this year. They won their league. They are kind of hot right now. That is going to be a tough match for us. We are going to have to be ready. We are excited about the chance to play some good competition."

The Bears opened the match by winning their six doubles point in the last seven matches. Sergio Ramirez and Maros Horny cruised to an 8-0 win over Elliot Butay and Carlos Salazar at the No. 3 position. The win was the Baylor duo's sixth in a row and Ramirez moved to 12-0 in dual doubles matches during his career with four different partners.

Next, Baylor's No. 2 team of Attila Bucko and Jordan Rux dominated Dario Beslic and Dmitry Suslov, 8-2. The win snaps a two-match losing streak for the pair and raised its dual match record to 6-4. Baylor is now 19-0 in matches when it wins the doubles point this season.

After doubles Baylor and Oral Roberts were forced to wait almost an hour, before starting singles play started, while Rice and Washington wrapped up their match.

The extended break did not seem to faze the Bears as they came out on fire to start singles play winning all six first sets. Julian Bley, playing at the No. 5 spot, was the first Bear off the court as he blew past Salazar 6-0, 6-0. Horny was close behind his teammate at the sixth position as he beat Butay 6-0, 6-0 as well to put Baylor up 3-0 in the match. Bley raised his record to 16-3 and has won five in a row. He played at the No. 5 spot for only the second time this season as Roberto Maytin was given the day off in singles action. Horny, who moved into the lineup because of Maytin's absence, played his first singles match since March 27 and raised his record to 10-2.

"Roberto is probably 99 and half percent healthy," Knoll said. "We just thought why not rest him. He obviously could have played today, but Maros had a great day he didn't lose a game. You can only play the guy in front of you and he did a great job of that."

Senior Domink Mueller clinched the match for the Bears with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Beslic. Mueller upped his team-leading dual match record to 22-4 and won the 119th singles match of his career. The 119 wins put the Frankfurt, Germany, native, into a tie for third place on the all-time Baylor singles wins list with Lars Poerschke and Benedikt Dorsch. Mueller has also won eight straight matches now.

"We need our seniors. Dominik is going to have to do what Domiinik is supposed to do and if he does we are going to have a chance," Knoll said. "We need those guys to be themselves. We don't need them to be anything different than themselves, but today he was Dominik Mueller and that is what we need."

The 4-0 sweep was the 12th time this season that Baylor has swept its opponent as the Bears improved to 15-1 at home. In NCAA Championship matches played in Waco the Bears are now 15-0 and have won 22 matches by 4-0 scores in tournament play.

In three of the last four years Baylor has beaten Oral Roberts in first round NCAA action. All three matches were 4-0 sweeps in Waco.