No. 9 Texas men’s tennis falls to No. 2 Baylor, 6-1, in first matchup since conference championship

Matthew Caldwell, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Feb. 8, 2022 flipbook.

No. 9 Texas kicked off Big 12 play Monday night in a top-10 matchup with No. 2 Baylor. While the Longhorns hoped to bounce back from a conference championship loss to the Bears the last time the two teams met, they fell in the match 6-1.

The doubles point has proven to be the deciding factor for No. 9 Texas. In the two matches the Longhorns have lost, the doubles point has gone to the opposition, with final scores of 3-4 versus No. 1 Florida and 3-4 versus No. 14 Arizona.

The Longhorns had hopes of securing the doubles point on Monday. After sophomore Siem Woldeab and freshman Pierre-Yves Bailly lost 6-4 at line 2 doubles, it was up to junior Chih Chi Huang and sophomore Micah Braswell to keep Texas’ chances to win the doubles point alive. The pair was unable to overcome a loss of serve earlier in the set, losing 7-5. Senior transfer Richard Ciamarra and redshirt sophomore Cleeve Harper, the No. 13-ranked doubles team, were two points away from taking down the No. 18-ranked doubles team of Finn Bass and Sven Lah in a tiebreak before the set had to be marked as unfinished.

It would take wins in four of the six singles matches for Texas to come out on top. Ciamarra and Harper came out strong, winning their first sets. Unfortunately, they were the only two to do so. Without sophomore Eliot Spizzirri, the singles lineup was forced to all bump up one spot.

Hope of a win quickly faded as the Longhorns found themselves down in most singles matches. Harper, Woldeab and Braswell all lost early, making a comeback impossible. With an overall score of 4-0 for Baylor, the remaining singles matches went on.

Ciamarra was one of a few bright spots for the Longhorns. After winning his doubles point alongside Harper, Ciamarra took it to Sven Lah of Baylor. Winning in straight sets, Ciamarra gave Texas its single point for the match.

Bailly was another highlight for Texas. After losing the first set 6-4, Bailly fought back and took the second set off Matias Soto in a tiebreak. Even though he ultimately lost the third set tiebreak, Bailly showed determination and fight.

Although the match didn’t go Texas’ way, the Longhorns were able to see how they matched up with one of the nation’s top teams and put up a fight in doubles.

The Longhorns were outmatched by the Bears tonight, losing 6-1. The teams will meet again April 1 at the Texas Tennis Center, with Spizzirri potentially returning to the lineup and giving the rest of the team slightly easier matchups.

The Longhorns have two more matches this weekend against Rice and No. 25 UCF before heading to Seattle for the ITA National Team Indoor Championship.