Illinois ends Ohio State's run
Fighting Illini win first Big Ten tournament since 2005
PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- Third-seeded Illinois rallied from a 3-1 deficit with victories at the No. 5, 6 and 2 singles positions to knock off top-seeded Ohio State and earn the Illini's first tournament title since 2005. In the clinching match at the No. 2 spot, Illinois' Roy Kalmanovich knocked off the Buckeyes' Blaz Rola, ranked sixth nationally, to end OSU's six-year run as tournament champions.
Ohio State, which claimed its seventh consecutive Big Ten Championship with an unblemished 11-0 regular-season record, earned the doubles point and an early 1-0 lead with victories at the No. 2 and 3 doubles positions.
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 2-0 advantage after 11th-ranked Chase Buchanan earned a 6-2, 6-2 victory against the Illini’s eighth-ranked Dennis Nevolo at No. 1 singles. Illinois’ Tim Kopinski put his team on the board with a 6-3, 6-1 triumph at the No. 4 position before OSU’s Peter Kobelt earned a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles to put his team up 3-1, just one point from clinching the tournament crown.
Needing to win the three remaining singles matches, Illinois’ comeback began at the No. 5 position where Stephen Hoh claimed a 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 victory before teammate Ross Guignon earned a 7-6, 6-4 win at the No. 6 spot to knot the team score at 3-3.
The tournament would be decided at No. 2 singles, where Illinois’ Kalmanovich registered a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 triumph to give the Illini their first tournament title since 2005.