Men’s tennis pulls near upset

The USF men’s tennis team gave No. 1 Baylor all it could handle before falling 4-3 in Waco, Texas on Saturday.

“That probably would have been the first time the No.1 team lost to an unranked team,” coach Don Barr said. “Their coach was sweating big time, he was a nervous wreck.”

With the win, Baylor (21-0) won its 45th consecutive game while USF had its 5-game winning streak snapped.

USF took 3-of-6 singles matches, with USF No. 1 Uli Kiendl upsetting No. 21-ranked Lars Poerschke, the highest-ranked player Kiendl has beaten all season, 6-3, 7-6 (5). Baylor’s Benedict Dorsch, the No. 1-ranked player in the country, did not play.

“Uli’s been working really hard to get his confidence up,” Barr said. “He’s beaten players before that have been in the top 10 in the country, so he has the capabilities to do that.”

After starting the season 3-14, Barr says his team is gaining more poise with each match, win or loss.

“They’re gaining a lot of confidence, of course,” Barr said. “I’m pleased that we’ve competed so well. The team is getting better every week and that’s what we wanted when we were in such a slump. It’s critical that everyone step their game up and now it’s starting to pay off.”

At the singles No. 4 spot, USF’s Andreas Maroldt defeated Vladimir Portnov 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.

Bulls’ freshman Juan Carlos Gomez notched USF’s third singles win, beating Jon Reckewey 7-5, 6-4 at the No. 6 spot.

In doubles action, USF dropped two of three matches, with the only win coming from Juan Barragan and Dillon Brozyna at the No. 3 spot.

Next up for USF are road matches at William & Mary on Saturday and Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday. The Conference USA Tournament, which will be held in Louisville, Ky., begins April 21.

“We’re getting back to be where I thought we should be,” Barr said. “I think this weekend will be important for our confidence heading into the conference tournament.”