Some players don’t even play 100 matches in their collegiate career, let alone win that many.
But Blair Shankle isn’t any ordinary tennis player.
The Baylor senior is fifth in the country, and in the Lady Bears’ 4-0 rout of SMU Friday afternoon at the Hurd Tennis Center, Shankle reached the century mark.
“It’s crazy,” Shankle said. “I can’t believe it’s already been four years and that I’ve reached this milestone. It says a lot to the coaching and the players before me who helped me out and prepared me for my years here.”
Shankle is the ninth player in Baylor women’s tennis history to record such a feat.
Joey Scrivano said Shankle will go down in Baylor history as one of the all-time greats.
“It says so much about her dedication and her commitment and just her willingness to play through injury and illness,” the Baylor coach said. “She’s pretty darn amazing.”
While the women rolled to victory, the third-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team grinded out a 4-3 victory over No. 16 Oklahoma which snapped a five-match losing streak to the Sooners.
Once the Baylor softball game ended, the fans from Getterman Stadium joined the ones already at the Hurd Tennis Center as the match came down to Jimmy Bendeck vs. Arnaud Restifo.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Baylor coach Matt Knoll said. “That’s the whole idea. We want to be like a basketball or a football game, allow people to come and have fun. I thought it was great. I think that we did it the way the rules evolved. The fans had fun. I thought it was great. Jimmy played with a lot of courage. He had a chance to go away, didn’t play his best tennis. He played a guy who was playing well in spurts. He found a way.”
In the third set up six to five, Bendeck hit a shot to the corner that Restifo couldn’t return to give the Bears the victory.
“It’s always a lot of pressure when it’s three all,” Bendeck said. “It makes it easy when you have 400 people or something like that and my teammates cheering for me every point, helping me out. If I didn’t have those people I wouldn’t have gotten through the match.”
Baylor won the doubles point and went up 3-1 with singles victories by Johannese Schretter and Will Little.
But Oklahoma fought back to tie things up at three.
“It always gives you confidence when you win when you don’t feel like you played great, particularly against a quality opponent,” Knoll said. “I think the guys are going to feel like, ‘Hey we’re going to have a chance on any day.’ Everybody’s got a paddle. Today different guys paddled and we got it done.”
The victory marked the seventh-straight win for the men’s team, while the women’s victory over SMU makes the women’s team 10-0 at home.
The Lady Bears won the doubles point before Shankle cruised to her singles victory 6-1, 6-1.
“It was a quick match,” Shankle said. “I was looking around me. I usually don’t try to look at a result, but I knew I was getting close to 100. I kept looking around and a couple of the girls were really closing out their matches quick. I was trying to keep pace with them. Overall it was a good match. I was just happy to come out and get a team win. Me picking up 100 was just icing on the cake. Perfect.”
Theresa Van Zyl also dominated with a 6-0, 6-1 singles victory, as Jessica Hinojosa’s singles win gave the Lady Bears the victory.
“I felt like we came out and played the right way,” Scrivano said. “From the very beginning I felt like our team has grown a lot. I could see it today in the early stages of the match. I really liked our professionalism and maturity. It was really good. It was an impressive effort.”