Ohio State's Rola advances past De Klerk to meet Virginia's Jenkins in title match
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Blaz Rola, an Ohio State junior, advanced to the 2013 NCAA Singles Championship final after beating No. 41 Japie De Klerk of Tulsa 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center.
Rola, ranked 12th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association polls and the Big Ten’s at-large singles selection, will face No. 3-seed Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia on Monday. Jenkins earned a 7-6(1), 7-6(3) against No. 11 Sebastian Fanselow of Pepperdine in the other semifinal.
It is the first time in his Buckeye career Rola has advanced to the national final. In 2012, Rola made it as far as the NCAA semifinals where he fell 6-2, 6-1 to Kentucky’s Eric Quigley, the No. 3 seed. So far, Rola, a native of Slovenia, is 12-2 all-time in the NCAA singles championship. Improving to 31-1 overall in 2013, Rola has now won at least 30 singles matches in each of his seasons at Ohio State. In 2011-12, Rola was 37-7 overall and last year he posted a 41-7 record.
In 2013, Rola, a three-time unanimous First Team All-Big Ten selection, has defeated 11 ranked singles opponents in dual matches and an additional five ranked opponents en route to the NCAA championship match. Rola and Jenkins faced each other earlier this season in the ITA Team Indoor Championships Feb. 15-18, when then-No. 62 ranked Rola upset then-No. 7 Jenkins 6-4, 6-2 in first singles.
Against DeKlerk, Rola, who is on a 12-match win streak, began the match with a 2-0 advantage before play was suspended and moved indoors because of inclement weather. Rola went on to win the first set 6-2. After beginning the second set down 1-0, he won the next three games to make the score 3-1. Rola ended up dropping just two more games en route to a 6-3 second-set win. It is the fourth time in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Singles Championship Rola has won in straight sets.