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Big 12 Tennis Championships Start Thursday
April 24, 2013
By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

Baylor is the top seed in both brackets for the 2013 Big 12 Tennis Championships that will be held at the Headington Family Tennis Center in Norman, Okla. Women’s action begins on Thursday while the men get underway Friday. Both Championships conclude on Sunday.

Baylor is the defending champion in men’s tennis and will be seeking its eighth postseason title. The Bears won the regular-season championship, their third title in the last five seasons. Texas is the defending women’s champion and has won eight postseason championships.

Baylor and Texas Tech shared the women’s regular-season title as each team finished with 8-1 records. The Lady Bears will be the No. 1 seed this weekend because of their 4-3 victory over the Lady Raiders Sunday.

The winners of the Big 12 postseason earn automatic bids to the NCAA Championships with first and second rounds taking place May 10-12 at various campus locations.

Baylor men
The 13th- ranked Bears (19-4, 5-0) won their 11th Big 12 regular-season title by going undefeated in conference play for seventh time. Baylor is anchored by strong doubles play; the Bears claimed the doubles point in every conference match, and only losing three doubles matches against conference opponents. Baylor has a young and talented lineup. The Bears have five singles competitors ranked in the latest ITA rankings led by No. 30 Patrick Pradella and No. 51 Julian Lenz. 

Oklahoma men
The 14th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (17-6, 4-1 Big 12) earned the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament after beating in-state rival Oklahoma State 5-2. The host site of the Big 12 Championships, OU is led by senior leader No. 19 Costin Paval. Paval is undefeated at the No. 1 position in singles, and is one of only two players in the Big 12 playing in both the No. 1 spot in singles and doubles. The Sooners boast two other ranked players in No. 58 Guillermo Alcorta and No. 61 Dane Webb, and have two ranked doubles tandems (No. 36 Paval and Webb, and No. 74 Alcorta and Axel Alvarez Llamas).

Oklahoma State men
The Cowboys began the 2013 spring season under their first new coach in 40 years, replacing long-time coach James Wadley with new head coach Jay Udwadia. Udwadia brought in six newcomers to a team that lost five letter winners from the 2012 squad, leading the Cowboys to a 12-13 overall record. The Cowboys are led by senior Rifat Biktyakov and the doubles tandem of Richard Del Nunzio and Denys Pume, who earned a No. 40 doubles ranking earlier this season.

TCU men
The 37th-ranked Horned Frogs earned fourth place in their first season in the Big 12. Coach David Roditi's squad has made strides in his third year at the program’s helm, as the group finished the regular season with its most wins since 2008 (20-8). Nick Chappell is TCU’s top-ranked singles player at No. 94, while Orlando Superlano leads all Frogs with 23 wins. Chappell and Will Stein are No. 63 in doubles.

Texas men
The third-seeded Longhorns (15-7, 3-2) will face No. 6 seed Oklahoma State on Friday at noon. The Longhorns and Cowboys have previously met three times in the Big 12 Championship with UT holding a 2-1 series advantage. The winner will face host and No. 2 seed Oklahoma in the second round on Saturday at noon. The Longhorns are seeking their fifth Big 12 Championship title and first since 2010.  Sophomore Søren Hess-Olesen is UT’s No. 1 singles player. Chris Camillone and David Holiner are 13-7 as a doubles team.

Texas Tech men
The Red Raiders hope to turn things around after losing their last two matches to No. 37 TCU and No. 19 Texas. Texas Tech has dropped to No. 50 in the national rankings. The Red Raiders have been continuously ranked in the ITA Top 75 since March 14, 2002. Texas Tech’s top singles competitors are freshman Gabriel Dias (16-5 record), senior Raphael Pfister (19-9), freshman Hugo Dojas (13-6) and sophomore Francisco Zambon (18-12). The doubles team of Dias and senior Vitor Manzini has a 13-5 record.

Baylor women
The 19th-ranked Lady Bears (15-13, 8-1 Big 12) clinched a Big 12 title for the ninth time over the past 11 years. This year, Baylor has earned the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Championships. During the regular season finale, Baylor edged Big 12 co-champions Texas Tech, 4-3, in Lubbock. The Lady Bears are led by 10th-ranked Ema Burgic, who is 22-5 in the top of the lineup for BU. Burgic also teams up with Victoria Kisialeva to form the team’s most successful doubles tandem, ranked eighth and owning a 16-3 dual match mark.

Iowa State
The Cyclones (8-14, 1-8) enter the Big 12 Championships as the ninth seed and will face Kansas in the first round - just days after falling to the Jayhawks 4-3 in Lawrence in the regular season finale. Iowa State’s lone Big 12 win this season came against West Virginia, a 5-2 victory in Ames. At No. 1 singles, Simona Cacciuttolo has won three of her last five matches to lead the Cyclones. Cacciuttolo also forms half of the Cyclones’ best doubles duo teaming with Meghan Cassens to post a 5-1 mark this spring.

Kansas women
The Jayhawks (10-9, 2-7 Big 12) finished the season with consecutive wins over West Virginia, 6-1, and Iowa State, 4-3, earning their first conference victories since April 2011. Kansas had a particularly strong non-conference portion of the season, climbing to as high as No. 65 in the ITA Women’s Division I Rankings while going 8-2 against opponents outside the Big 12.

Kansas State women
The 52nd-ranked Wildcats (9-10, 3-6 Big 12) finished seventh to match the preseason coaches’ poll predicted finish. K-State is led by the All-Big 12 duo of junior Petra Niedermayerova and senior Karla Bonacic. The tandem is K-State’s top doubles team, ranked 24th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) doubles rankings, with an overall record of 20-10 and a Big 12 mark of 7-2. In singles, Niedermayerova, ranked 16th in the ITA singles rankings, has again paced K-State with a career-best record of 29-9 including a 6-3 league record. Bonacic has amassed an 18-8 overall record but has been tremendous this spring with a 14-5 dual match mark and a team-best 7-2 Big 12 record from the number two position in the lineup.

Oklahoma women
The 36th-ranked Sooners (13-8, 5-4 Big 12) went 9-8 against ranked opponents. Oklahoma went 5-2 to close out the last month of the season. Hermon Brhane and Whitney Ritchie, went 13-5 at the No. 1 doubles position to earn a top 10 ITA Ranking at No. 9. The Sooners are led by No. 59 Brhane at the No. 1 singles spot. Ritchie was named the Big 12 Player of the Week, April 16, after an undefeated weekend against two ranked doubles opponents. Ritchie’s upset over TCU’s No. 107 Olivia Smith helped the Sooners hand TCU its first conference loss this season, April 14.

Oklahoma State women
The Cowgirls (13-7, 5-4) are the No. 5 seed for the sixth time. Oklahoma State has won the tournament once, in 2003, and have appeared in the championship game twice, in 2001 and 2003. Last year the Cowgirls lost their opening match to Texas. Oklahoma State moved up five spots to No. 32 in this week’s ITA rankings. Senior Malika Rose remained remains at No. 63 in the ITA singles rankings. Rose, along with teammate Kanyapat Narattana, also represents Oklahoma State in the ITA doubles rankings. The duo is up five spots from last week to No. 31.

TCU women
The 27th-ranked Horned Frogs (17-5, 6-3 Big 12) had a strong debut season in the Big 12 and will look to continue the momentum into the conference championship. The Horned Frogs won their first six Big 12 meets, and all three of TCU's losses have been by a narrow 4-3 margin. Sophomore Simona Parajova was the Big 12's top performer at No. 3 singles with a  7-2 record in league singles play. The Frogs have two singles players ranked in the ITA rankings in sophomore Stefanie Tan at No. 52 and senior Olivia Smith at No. 113. TCU was the only team to defeat No. 1 seed Baylor in Big 12 play, defeating the Lady Bears 4-2 back on March 27.

Texas women
The Longhorns have has won eight Big 12 Championship tournaments and are the defending champion. The Longhorns defeated host Texas A&M in the finals of the 2012 Big 12 Championships in College Station. Texas has reached the finals at the Big 12 Championships a league-leading 15 times in the event’s 16-year history. Coach Patty Fendick-McCain has taken the Longhorns to the finals in each of her seven previous Big 12 Championships appearances. The Horns are led by two-time senior All-American Aeriel Ellis and freshman Breaunna Addison, the Big 12 champion at No. 2 singles.

Texas Tech women
The Lady Raiders finished tied with Baylor for first place in the regular season and are ranked 17th nationally. Sunday’s loss to Baylor ended a nine-match winning streak for Texas Tech. The Lady Raiders have spent 39 consecutive matches ranked in the International Tennis Association Top 25. Junior Samantha Adams is ranked No. 78 nationally, the highest ranking in her three seasons in Lubbock. Adams and sophomore Kenna Kilgo are ranked 17th nationally in doubles. The duo has a 21-8 record and is 7-8 against nationally-ranked doubles tandems.

West Virginia women
The Mountaineers (4-16, 0-9) are participating in their first Big 12 Championship. West Virginia will face No. 7 seed Kansas State in the first round. Three players, Hailey Barrett, Emily Mathis and Vivian Tsui, are tied for the team lead in singles victories, with seven. In addition, Mathis leads WVU in doubles victories (9) and combined victories (16). Barrett and teammate Ikttesh Chahal scored the team’s marquee victory this season, when they defeated then-No. 19 Breaunna Addison and Noel Scott of Texas in doubles play. 

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