Feb. 27, 2012
BERKELEY - California men's tennis freshman Chase Melton delivered the final blow in a 4-3 victory against 16th-ranked Baylor on Monday, Feb. 27, at the Hellman Tennis Complex. The 10th-ranked Golden Bears (6-5) snapped a two-match losing streak and sent the Baylor Bears (4-5) to their fourth consecutive loss as Melton defeated Julian Bley in a three-set thriller, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, at court six.
"Baylor's a great team," said head coach Peter Wright. "There were some similarities to how we played the Stanford match where we had a good boost and got into a mid-match lull. We never really bounced out of it against Stanford, but our guys fought through it really well, today."
Baylor took the first shot of the day and earned a victory at the top doubles court where Roberto Maytin and Mate Zsiga took out junior Christoffer Konigsfeldt and sophomore Ben McLachlan, 8-4. Cal answered back with a win on court two as senior Nick Andrews and freshman Andrew Scholnick got an 8-6 win against Marko Krickovic and Robert Verzaal.
With court three left to decide the first point of the day, Cal fought to earn an eight-all tie and force a tiebreaker. Junior Riki McLachlan and senior Tommie Murphy surged ahead to a 6-1 lead in the breaker against Bley and Kike Grangeiro but the Baylor duo came back to earn two points before Cal put it away for the first point of the dual.
"The doubles was hard-fought, today" said Wright. "I expected a better result on court one, and more of a struggle at the other two courts. I think that says something about the soul and the heart of this team. Those guys at court three--Riki and Tommie--really fought hard for that win and they really earned that victory for us, today, so that doubles point was huge."
Cal went ahead, 2-0, in the dual on a win at court three where Konigsfeldt took out Krickovic, 6-3, 6-0, but Baylor responded to get on the board when No. 25-ranked Zsiga defeated Andrews in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, at the top court. Unfazed, Cal came one point from clinching the match thanks to a 6-3, 6-4 win by freshman Gregory Bayane at court four where he defeated Marko Galeano.
Baylor wouldn't go quietly, however. Grangeiro used a 6-4, 6-4 win against senior Ahmed Ismail to bring his team within a point, 3-2, from court five. At court two, No. 44-ranked Ben McLachlan won his first set against No. 100 Maytin, 6-0, but faltered in the second set to lose, 6-1. The two players went to a third-set tiebreaker where Maytin came alive to secure a three-all tie in the dual with a 7-2 score in the breaker.
With the final point resting on court six, Melton weathered the storm by Baylor's Bley to earn a third-set tiebreaker. Melton won his first set, 6-4, but left a 6-2 score on the table in the second set. In the breaker, Melton climbed out to a 6-3 lead but Bley responded to get two points. Facing the Baylor serve, Melton put the final nail in the coffin as he dismissed Bley with a 7-5 score in the breaker.
"It feels amazing," said Melton. "I loved having the crowd out there. It gives me an adrenaline boost. This was my first home match and I wanted to prove myself to the team and to everyone, so it feels good."
Cal is back in action in a road dual at San Diego (5-3) at 1 p.m. PT on Thursday, March 1, at the Hogan Tennis Center in San Diego. The team will also participate in the 123rd-annual Pacific Coast Doubles Championships at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif. from Thursday-Sunday (March 1-4).
No. 10 California 4, No. 16 Baylor 3