WACO, Texas - The Oklahoma and Texas A&M men and Baylor and Texas women will battle for the 2011 Big 12 tennis championship crowns as all four teams advanced with semifinal wins Saturday at the Baylor Tennis Center.
Both Championship matches begin Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
The fifth-seeded OU men become the highest seed to advance to a Championship, knocking off No. 1 seed Baylor, 4-3. It marks the first-ever appearance for the Sooners in the finals and the first time the top seed has not been in the Championship match. The second-seeded Aggies topped third-seeded Texas, 4-0, to advance to their second-straight Championship match and seventh overall.
On the women's side, it will be Baylor against Texas for the seventh consecutive year. BU has taken the title in each year minus UT's postseason title season of 2004. The second-seeded Longhorns earned a 4-2 victory over third-seeded OU, while the Lady Bears outlasted fourth-seeded Texas A&M, 4-2.
The Oklahoma men advanced in a thriller over host Baylor, notching the deciding point on a third-set tiebreaker to edge the regular-season champion Bears. The Sooners opened the contest by winning the doubles point. Baylor secured an 8-6 win at the No. 1 position before OU rallied with an 8-4 victory at No. 2 from 73rd-ranked Costin Paval and Peerakit Siributwong over 43rd-ranked Sergio Ramirez and Jordan Rux, 9-7. The Sooners extended their advantage to 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-1 win from Paval at the No. 2 spot, but the Bears charged back for three wins at the No. 3-5 slots.
Down 3-2, OU rallied for the comeback as 30th-ranked Ionut Beleleu took a three-set win at the No. 1 position over 17th-ranked John Peers, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3, to tie the match at 3-all. As Beleleu secured the tying point, Tsvetan Mihov had moved into a third-set tiebreaker with Dennis Lengsfeld at the No. 6 position. Mihov dropped the first set, 3-6, before taking the second set 7-5. The freshman sealed OU's win with a 7-5 tiebreaker point to earn the set, 7-6.
The ninth-ranked Aggies, led by seniors Austin Krajicek, Jeff Dadamo and Alexey Grigorov at the top of the lineup, defeated 14th-ranked Texas. In doubles, Texas was first off the court at No. 2 as Ben Chen and Kellen Damico defeated senior Alexey Grigorov and freshman Junior Ore, 8-3. The No. 3 doubles went the Aggies direction as junior Colin Hoover and sophomore Alberto Bautista defeated the Horns' Chris Camillone and Daniel Whitehead, 8-2. The win marked the 19th victory of the spring for the No. 90th-ranked tandem. The Aggies clinched the doubles point at No. 1 with seniors Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek turning back UT's duo of Ed Corrie and Vasko Mladenov, 8-4.
Krajicek, Dadamo and Grigorov picked up wins at the No. 1-3 positions. Three-time Big 12 Player of the Week Krajicek downed 43rd-ranked Kellen Damico 6-2, 6-3 while 36th-ranked Jeff Dadamo completed the Aggie win with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over 33rd-ranked Ed Corrie. TAMU improves to 26-5 on the year, the second-most wins in school history behind the 2001 club's 27 victories. That 2001 Aggie team was the last A&M squad to win the men's Big 12 Championship, which was also in Waco.
While this is OU's first finals trip, the Texas A&M men have earned three championship titles (1998, 2000-'01). The Baylor men have been crowned postseason champions on seven occasions (2002-'05 and 2007-'09) with Texas earning four championship titles (1997, '99, '06, '10).
The Longhorn women advanced to their seventh-straight Championship match with a 4-2 win over the third-seeded Sooners. UT captured the doubles point with wins from 54th-ranked Amanda Craddock and Cierra Gaytan-Leach at the No. 1 spot, 8-3, and Krista Damico and Aerial Ellis at the No. 2 position, 8-2. UT extended their lead to 3-0 with victories from Ellis and Juliana Gajic in singles play. OU notched back-to-back wins, but Gaytan-Leach sealed the UT win with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory at the No. 6 position.
In the final semifinal match of the day, the top-seeded Lady Bears came back from losing the doubles point to post a 4-2 win over fourth-seeded Texas A&M. After the Aggies took the 1-0 lead, BU snagged four of five finished singles matches. Nina Secerbegovic evened the match at 1-1 with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Christi Liles at the No. 3 spot. After A&M clinched the win at No. 1, Baylor won the No. 6, 4 and 2 singles spots, including the match-clinching victory from 46th-ranked Diana Nakic over 98th-ranked Morgan Frank, 6-2, 7-6 (5) at the No. 2 hole.
The Baylor women have won the past five postseason conference titles (2006-10). The Longhorn women hold the most wins overall with seven (1997-2002, '05). Oklahoma State was crowned in 2003, while Texas A&M won in 2004.
Day passes are $5 for adults and $3 for youth.
2011 Big 12 Women's Tennis Championships - Semifinals
No. 1 Baylor 4, No. 4 Texas A&M 2
No. 2 Texas 4, No. 3 Oklahoma 2
Championship: Texas vs. Baylor - 8:30 a.m.
2011 Big 12 Men's Tennis Championships - Semifinals
No. 5 Oklahoma 4, No. 1 Baylor 3
No. 2 Texas A&M 4, No. 3 Texas 0
Championship: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M - 8:30 a.m.