Buchanan, Rola grip doubles title
First tandem to win all three major college titles in one season
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola, members of the Ohio State men’s tennis team, made history Monday afternoon when they beat Raony Carvalho and Gonzalo Escobar of Texas Tech 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Doubles Championship match. With the victory, Buchanan and Rola became the first tandem in history to win all three major collegiate championships in one season – D’Novo/ITA All-America Championships, USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships and NCAA Championships.
“They’ve done a great job together and they’re both captains,” Ty Tucker, head coach, said. “They always came to play and they complement each other so well, it’s unbelievable what they have accomplished. I’m extremely proud of both of them. Nobody deserves this more than Chase and now Blaz too.”
The Buckeye duo, which entered the tournament as the No. 1 team and seed, went 14-0 during the three championship runs and for the season amassed a 36-4 overall record. Additionally, the pair went 18-1 vs. nationally-ranked opponents.
“We found out about the triple crown yesterday,” Rola said. “We certainly felt the adrenaline rush on the match points and it felt great to be able to have that opportunity. So many great doubles teams have played in college tennis and to be the only team to accomplish this is unbelievable.”
“We spend a ton of time together every day at home and we have a great relationship,” Buchanan said. “We’ve played together for the past two years now pretty much and we obviously practice together a lot. We understand where we can help each other and what positions on the court are best suited for our styles. We do a great job of understanding what we do well on the court together.”
Despite being down a break early in the first set (3-1), Buchanan and Rola were back on serve entering the ninth game (4-4) and took a 5-4 lead before a rain delay forced play indoors. Both teams remained on serve until the Buckeyes took control in the first-set tiebreaker, winning 7-4. Buchanan and Rola jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the second set and held their break throughout the set for the eventual 6-3 final.
The contest served as the final collegiate match for Buchanan, a senior from New Albany, Ohio. With 112 career doubles victories, Buchanan is sixth in the Buckeye records book and having collected 44 doubles wins in 2011-12, owns the Ohio State single-season doubles record. He finished his career with a 108-24 singles record, including a 32-7 ledger in 2011-12. The 108 wins ties him for 10th all-time in the Ohio State records book. Buchanan’s 220 combined singles and doubles wins places him sixth at Ohio State.
Rola, a sophomore from Slovenia, is second at Ohio State in single-season doubles victories with 43. Advancing to the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA singles championship, Rola finished the season with a team-leading 37 wins.