Chih Chi Huang comes up clutch as No. 7 Texas tennis upsets No. 2 Baylor in dramatic fashion

Ross Fisher

At deuce point, up 5-3 in the third set, it was now or never for Texas junior Chih Chi Huang. Huang lined up his serve, and before Baylor graduate transfer Charlie Broom could set his feet, the ball zipped past him. Huang fell to the floor. In an instant, everyone in the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center turned their attention to the umpire. Time stood still.

At this point, it was unclear whether Huang collapsed due to the exasperation of staring a blown lead in the face, or if he knew he had just won the entire dual match with one angry swing of the racket. The umpire gestured, and all of a sudden, the Texas ensemble went on a mad dash towards Huang — it had been the latter.

“I thought, ‘Yeah, I hit an ace. We win,’” Huang said. “So it was like, ‘Oh, I hit a good serve, it’s happened so many times, it must be in.’”

Huang knew before anyone that his ace had just clinched an upset for No. 7 Texas over rival No. 2 Baylor, in Waco nonetheless. Sophomore Cleeve Harper ended up coming back in the third set of his match to extend the Texas lead to 5-2, when it was all said and done Thursday night.

Despite Huang being convinced he had just won it for Texas, Broom initially called the serve out. There was a brief moment of confusion before the point was given, in which Huang and his teammates waited in suspense.

“It’s kind of a blur right now, but I was just looking at my guys and then at the ref, because I didn’t really know what’s going on,” Huang said. “I just saw everyone started running towards me, I’m like, ‘Thank God.’”

After losing to Broom in their two previous encounters this season, Huang was determined to get revenge. All week, he focused on simplifying his game and having a clear mindset during matches.

“I’ve been working on trying to keep things pretty simple, not to overdo things and have a clear game plan of how I want to play, to have a clear mindset of focusing on the process,” Huang said. “When I’m thinking too much, it normally doesn’t go well.”

The win was not only a relief for Huang. The entire team was relieved to finally overcome a really strong Baylor team that had handed them two of their four losses on the season.

Relief aside, head coach Bruce Berque was delighted with his team’s overall performance.

“We’ve had a lot of great efforts and resilient comebacks, but just in terms of the consistency with which we competed today, I think this might have been our best,” Berque said. “This was probably our best effort of the year.”

Sophomore Eliot Spizzirri continued his hot streak, picking up a third-straight win against a ranked opponent to beat Baylor sophomore No. 53 Adrian Boitan. At the exact same time that No. 20 Spizzirri won his match at No. 1, his doubles partner sophomore Siem Woldeab simultaneously clinched his at No. 3.

The two sophomores, ranked No. 10 as a doubles pair, won their No.1 match 6-3. Senior Payton Holden clinched the doubles point for Texas, playing at No. 3 with freshman Micah Braswell.

Texas tennis will close out the regular season in Lubbock, taking on No. 21 Texas Tech on Sunday.