Baylor Bear Insider
Michael Woodson welcomed the challenge of facing 18th-ranked Stanford in Friday’s Round of 16 matchup. And that’s exactly what he got, a big-time challenge under the lights at the Hurd Tennis Center.
Losing the doubles point for the first time in over a month, third-seeded Baylor (29-3) pulled out a three-setter and two tiebreakers to rally from a 3-1 deficit and beat the 18th-ranked Cardinal, 4-3, in advancing to the final site of the NCAA Championship for the third-straight year.
Woodson and the rest of the team rushed the court when UCF transferred Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi won an extended rally and closed out the match by beating Stanford’s Tim Sah, 7-5, 7-6(5), at No. 6 singles. Sah held off three match points at 4-5 and three more in the tiebreaker before netting a cross-court forehand as an exhausted “Jaumpi” fell on his back from him.
“Honestly, it was unbelievable,” Mazzuchi said. “I think this is why we are all here in college, to get the team experience. After clinching a match like this, it’s amazing. I was pretty tight, to be honest, after losing those match points when I was up 5-4 , but this feels incredible.”
Advancing to the Elite Eight in Champaign, Ill., for the third-straight time and 15th time overall, the Bears will play next Thursday, May 22, against the winner of Saturday’s matchup between sixth-seeded Tennessee (24-7) and 28th-ranked Florida State (18-10).
“It’s really, really hard to get there,” Woodson said. “These few matches have been nails, and maybe we win because we’re home. For us to just have an opportunity to play in the Elite Eight is something special, and we’re going to cherish it and try to take it home. “
Not intimidated at all by a raucous Baylor crowd, the Cardinal (19-6) took the opening doubles point with late breaks on all three courts. Sah and Max Basing won the last three games in beating Adrian Boitan and Tadeaus Paroulek, 6-3, at No. 3, then Tomas Kopczynski and Axel Geller clinched it with a 6-3 upset of fifth-ranked Finn Bass and Sven Lah at No. 1.
“They kind of punched us in the mouth in doubles,” Woodson said. “We were a little flat, a little distracted, looking around too much. To be honest, it allowed us to talk about it after the doubles. ‘Hey, guys, we are everywhere but on our court.’ That was maybe the worst doubles point we’ve played the whole year.”
Rebounding in singles, the Bears won four of the six first sets to put themselves in position for their eighth win this year after dropping the doubles point.
“We know we can get four points from anywhere in the lineup,” Mazzuchi said. “After losing the doubles point, of course, it’s tougher. You have to get four points instead of three, but I think we were all confident that we were going to get it done. Even though Sven and Mati (Soto) lost, I think we did a good job.”
Holding just eleven in seven service games against the 80th-ranked Basing, Lah was swept, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 3. The fifth-ranked Boitan was just as dominant on Court 1, getting early breaks in both sets and rolling over 15th-ranked Arthur Ferry, 6-1, 6-2.
“I can say it now, he was sick last week,” Woodson said of Boitan, who clinched a 4-2 win over 25th-ranked Texas A&M with a three-setter. “This is the Adrian I expected to come out on match day, especially in the NCAA tournament. Fery was No. 1 in the country at the end of the fall. To beat him (6-1, 6-2) in 55 minutes is something special. But, I don’t think he would tell you it was anything out of the ordinary. That’s just Adrian.”
Soto was able to get to a second-set tiebreaker at No. 2, but Geller held on for a 6-3, 7-6(6) win to give the Cardinal a 3-1 lead.
After wasting four match points at 6-5 in the second set at No. 5, Paroulek pulled out the tiebreaker to finish off Sangeet Sridhar, 6-3, 7-6(5), and close the gap to 3-2.
Overcoming a second-set loss at No. 4, Bass had back-to-back service breaks and won five-straight games to square the match at 3-3 with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win over 78th-ranked Alex Rostaert.
“Finn dropped his head a little bit in the middle of the (second) set, and had opportunities to get back in it and just didn’t,” Woodson said. “Alex really raised his game from him, and Finn did a phenomenal job in being on it all the time. He took advantage of Alex’s slight dip in emotional level and ran with it.”
And then, it was Mazzuchi’s turn to close it out and get the Bears into the next round.
“I think we have to have the mindset that we are not done yet,” Mazzuchi said. “Elite Eight is not where we want to be. We want to win it all. We have bigger things coming.”
WACO, Texas – Third-ranked and No. 3 national seed Baylor defeated No. 18 Stanford, 4-3, on Friday night at the Hurd Tennis Center in the Round of 16 after being down 3-1.
The Bears (29-3) took out the Cardinal (19-6) to advance to the Elite Eight. It is the third year in a row with BU making a quarterfinal appearance and the 15th time in program history.
Baylor improves its record in the NCAA Tournament to 62-21 and 34-1 when playing at home.
The Bears will head to Champaign for the Elite Eight, the match taking place on Thursday, May 19.
Baylor dropped the doubles point for the first time in the last 10 matches, falling on courts one and three. Stanford’s Tim Sah and Max Basing won, 6-3, over Adrian Boitan and Tadeas Paroulek to start it off, then No. 41 Axel Geller and Tomas Kopczynski bested No. 4 Sven Lah and Finn Bass on court one, 6-3. #9 Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi and Matias Soto were down, 4-5, when the point was won.
In singles, the Bears kept up with the Cardinal from the get-go. Finishing first was court three, with Stanford’s No. 80 Max Basing besting No. 73 Lah, 6-1, 6-1 to make it 2-0 in the Cardinal’s favor. No. 5 Boitan put the first Baylor point on the board with his 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 15 Fery on the top court. No. 112 Geller made it 3-1 Stanford with his 6-3, 7-6(6), victory over No. 36 Soto on court two.
Down but not out, the Bears started the comeback. On the bottom courts, BU kicked it into high gear. No. 58 Paroulek won the first set, 6-3, over Sangeet Sridhar, and took it into a tiebreaker into the second set. He came out on top with a 7-6(5) decision in the second set to give the Bears another point. Now with the match at 3-2, Bass was in a third set with No. 78 Rotsaert on court five. He took the match, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to tie up the match at 3-3 when moments later Grassi Mazzuchi clinched the match on court six, 7-5, 7-6(5) over Sah.
QUOTABLE – Head Coach Michael Woodson
“A big shoutout to the fans and our Marketing and Fan Engagement department for the environment and atmosphere we had tonight. It was electric and it made a big impact on the match. [Stanford] came in expecting it to be a hostile environment, and it was. These few matches have been nails, and maybe we win because we’re home. That’s a credit to the great, consistent elite season these players have put together. From there, it’s anybody’s tournament. For us to just have an opportunity to play in the Elite Eight is something special, and we’re going to cherish it and try to take it home.”
QUOTABLE – Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi
“It was unbelievable [clinching the match and seeing the response from the team]. I think this is why we are all here in college, to get the team experience. And after clinching a match like this it’s amazing. I was pretty tight, to be honest, after losing those match points when I was 5-4 up. But yeah, it feels incredible. We know we can get four points anywhere in the lineup. I think after losing the doubles point, of course, it’s tougher. You have to get four points instead of three, but I think we were all confident that we were going to get it done, even though Mati (Soto) and Sven (Lah) lost. I think we did a good job.”
The Bears await the result of Saturday’s Florida State match with No. 6 seed Tennessee to find out their opponent in the Elite Eight.
To stay up to date throughout the season on all things Baylor men’s tennis, follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @BaylorMTennis.
#3 [3 seed] Baylor (4) vs. #18 Stanford (3)
Waco, Texas – Hurd Tennis Center
fifteen Adrian Boitan (BU) def. #15 Arthur Ferry (STAN) 6-1, 6-2
2. #112 Axel Geller (STAN) def. #36 Matias Soto (BU) 6-3, 7-6(6)
3. #80 Max Basing (STAN) def. #73 Sven Lah (BU) 6-1, 6-1
Four. Finn Bass (BU) def. #78 Alex Rotsaert (STAN) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
5. #58 Tadeas Paroulek (BU) def. Sangeet Sridhar (STAN) 6-3, 7-6(5)
6. Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi (BU) def. Tim Shah (STAN) 7-5, 7-6(5)
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2, 5, 4, 6
1. #41 Axel Geller/Tomas Kopczynski (STAN) def. #3 Sven Lah/Finn Bass (BU) 6-3
2. #9 Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi/Matias Soto (BU)vs. Alex Rotsaert/Arthur Fery (STAN) 4-5 unfinished
3. Tim Sah/Max Basing (STAN) def. Adrian Boitan/Tadeas Paroulek (BU) 6-3
Order of finish: 3, 1
– BaylorBears.com –