No. 19 Red Raiders Fall To No. 28 Baylor In Big 12 Semifinals|
Gonzalo Escobar upset No. 16 Mate Zsiga at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-3.
April 28, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – No. 19 Texas Tech (15-8) fell short of advancing to the Big 12 Conference Men’s Tennis Championship finals on Saturday, as No. 28 Baylor (17-10) slipped past the Red Raiders, 4-3, at the Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M.
“Just devastating,” said Texas Tech head coach Tim Siegel. “We didn’t play well at No. 2 (singles). We were up 4-1. That was a big turning point for us. We were up 40-love, 4-1. You have to win that match at No. 2. I am very disappointed with that performance. We were up 7-6, 5-4 and 30-love, two points from the victory and Vitor Manzini just got a little tight and then led 4-3 in the third.
“It is just a tough one. As great as you feel after a Texas win 7-6 in the third, now we know what it feels like a few days later to lose 7-6 in the third to make the finals of the Big 12 Championship. I am just absolutely crushed by it. I am proud of the team. I am proud of what we have done all year. We will regroup and get ready for the NCAAs, but there has never been a harder, more difficult loss for me. The bottom line though is the guy at No. 4 earned it. I give Vitor (Manzini) a lot of credit after losing that set and battling, but it doesn’t get any tougher than this.”
Texas Tech will now await Tuesday’s NCAA Selection Show to find out their fate. The Red Raiders have appeared in five straight NCAA Championships. Overall, Texas Tech has advanced to the NCAAs 10 times, all under Siegel (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).
The day started with solid doubles play from the Red Raiders. Raony Carvalho and Gonzalo Escobar, who are ranked No. 19 in the nation, dispatched the 74th-ranked duo of Diego Galeano and Mate Zsiga, 8-4, at No. 1 doubles. Jeff Bryan and Gabe Wanderley followed suit, as the Tech tandem tripped Julian Bley and Mark Krickovic, 8-6, at No. 3. Rafael Garcia and Vitor Manzini were knotted in a 5-5 battle at No. 2 with Baylor’s Kike Grangeiro, when the match was abandoned because Tech had secured the doubled point.
Texas Tech quickly took a 2-0 lead on the Bears, after Garcia cruised past Krickovic, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 3 singles.
Baylor suddenly tied the score, 2-2, after Bley tripped Tech’s Francisco Zambon at No. 6 and No. 100 Roberto Maytin upset No. 75 Carvalho, 7-5, 6-3, at No. 2.
Escobar, who is ranked No. 43 nationally, put the lead back in Texas Tech hands after he put together a masterful 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 16 Zsiga at No. 1 singles. Tech now led 3-2 with two matches left on the court.
Wanderley battled back from a first set loss, 6-2, to win the second set, 7-5, over Grangeiro at No. 5 singles. Grangeiro won the third set, 6-3, give Baylor the point and tying the match, 3-3.
It all came down to No. 4 singles, where Manzini and Galeano waged an epic battle. Manzini, who had lost to Galeano in Waco earlier in the year, battled for a 7-6 (7-5) win in the first set. The second set was not different, but this time it was Galeano who forced the tiebreaker and used the momentum to win the set, 7-6 (7-2).
Galeano broke serve and took a 3-1 lead in the third, but Manzini battled back to tie it 3-3 and serve for the lead at 4-3. Neither side would break serve again and the match was tied at 6-6 and another tiebreaker ensued. Galeano jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak and picked up the 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-3) win for Baylor to secure a spot in the Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championships final on Sunday.
#28 Baylor 4, #19 Texas Tech 3