Ohio State earns second semifinals bid
Buchanan wins 17th consecutive singles match to kickstart OSU
STANFORD, Calif. -- Fourth-ranked Ohio State beat No. 5 Baylor 4-2 Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championship at the Taube Tennis Center. The Buckeyes will meet Virginia at 3 p.m. ET on Monday for a chance to play in the championship match.
Freshman Blaz Rola, the nation's fourth-ranked player, clinched the victory for the Buckeyes (34-2) on court one with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 win against John Peers. Rola fought off multiple match points and more than 10 break points in the win. Additionally, it was the Ptuj, Slovenia, native's team-high 38th victory of the season as he also improves to 10-2 at the No. 1 position.
Advancing to its second NCAA semifinals in program history, Ohio State and coach Ty Tucker improve to 29-11 in the NCAA tournament.
"It was a competitive match and an emotional win," Tucker said. "Now we have to get ready to face the No. 1 team in the nation, Virginia."
Tucker led the Buckeyes to the NCAA semifinals and eventually the final in 2009.
After falling behind by one match in the doubles session, the Buckeyes clawed back to claim the point heading into singles action. Matt Allare and Peter Kobelt lost an 8-3 decision to Roberto Maytin and Peers, the nation's fifth-ranked duo who also won their 11th match in a row.
Rola and Balazs Novak won their 11th-consecutive match to tie the doubles contest at one apiece. The Buckeye tandem downed Julien Bley and Kike Grangeiro, 8-3. The pair move to 16-1 on the season with the victory.
In the final doubles match, Chase Buchanan and Shuhei Uzawa mounted a huge comeback against the nation's 52nd ranked team, Sergio Ramirez and Jordan Rux, to win 8-6. The deciding portion of the match came with the Buckeye duo trailing 5-4 and Baylor serving. Buchanan and Uzawa then broke the Baylor pair's serve to tie the match at 6-6 before clinching the point by winning the final two games.
Buchanan and Uzawa move to 14-2 overall on the year after winning their sixth consecutive match.
Overall, the Buckeyes improved to 80-20 in doubles competition.
Buchanan, the 10th-ranked player nationally, put the Buckeyes up 2-0 with a strong performance on court two. The two-time Big Ten Athlete of the Year won his 17th contest in a row by defeating Ramirez 6-2, 6-2. The junior moved to 34-5 overall, including a 29-2 spring record and 13-1 at No. 2.
Baylor came back to make the score 2-2 behind Rux, who downed Ille Van Engelen, 7-5, 6-1, and Maytin, who snapped Allare's 24-match win streak, with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 comeback win over the Buckeye senior.
However, the Buckeyes would win the next two matches to seal their trip to the semifinals. Novak picked up the team's third win with a hard fought 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 6. Moments after, Rola won on court one.