COLLEGE STATION, Texas - In a heart-breaking loss, the third-seeded Baylorís menís tennis team fell to top-seeded Oklahoma, 4-3, in the title match of the Big 12 Championship on Sunday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.
The match lasted five hours and 29 minutes, featured seven tie breakers and the match that determined the tournament championship went three sets, all decided by tiebreaks.
A pair of seniors, Baylorís Julian Bley and OUís David Pultr dueled for three sets at No. 6 before Pultr pulled out the win, giving the Sooners their first-ever Big 12 Championship crown.
"We couldn't have had a better guy out there (Bley), a senior who has been in that spot a bunch," said head coach Matt Knoll. "We felt confident. It was a heck of a match. I thought their guy really picked it up at the end of the second set. In the third he served better than he had in the rest of the match. We were able to squeeze out that late break. Then we just made a couple uncharacteristic errors late in the breaker and that's that."
To begin the dayís action, Baylor claimed the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3. After the Soonersí 11th-ranked Dane Webb and Costin Paval downed freshmen Diego Galeano and Mate Zsiga at the top court, 8-3, Baylor won the finals two matches. On court three, Bley and Marko Krickovic captured an 8-4 win over Lawrence Formantera and Pultr. Likewise, Kike Grangeiro and Roberto Maytin, playing at No. 2, finished off the Soonersí Tsvetan Mihov and Peerakit Siributwong, 8-5.
In singles, four of the six first sets went to a tiebreak with each team winning two of them. The Bears went up 2-0 when Galeano breezed to a 6-4, 6-0 win over Siributwong at No. 4 singles. But, the Sooners would even the score at 2-2 with wins at No. 1 and 5. Baylorís 100th-ranked Maytin claimed his second straight singles upset when he downed 63rd-ranked Guillermo Alcorta, 7-6(5), 6-4, on court two. The Sooners countered with a win at No. 3 when Mihov defeated Krickovic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0.
The match was decided on court six with Bley and Pultr dueling it out. Bley won the first set 7-6(6) and when play ended on court three, Bley trailed Pultr in the second set 4-5. The two would play another tiebreaker with Pultr winning, 7-6(4), forcing a championship-deciding third set. The third set ended tied as well and Bley raced out to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker. From that point on, Bley hit two shots wide, one long and one into the net while Purtl registered a cross court winner. Purtl claimed the match 7-4 in the tiebreak.
With the loss, the 28th-ranked Bears fall to 17-11 on the season with 12th-ranked Oklahoma is now 18-3.
The Bears will have to wait to see who their next opponent is. The 2012 NCAA Championship bracket will be released on Tuesday, May 1.