College tennis: Top-ranked Ohio State sweeps No. 4 Oklahoma
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Earlier this season, Ohio State swept Oklahoma in the first round of the ITA National Indoor Championships. On Sunday, the Buckeyes hoped to get revenge from a match two years ago where the Sooners broke OSU’s 200-match home win streak. No Buckeye fan left the Varsity Tennis Center disappointed, as OSU once again dominated in a 4-0 win over the No. 4 team in the country.
“Oklahoma is a great team and I’m just so proud of our guys with the way they fought,” said OSU director of tennis Ty Tucker. “They were obviously missing one of their top guys in Andrew Harris, which forced them to mix up their doubles lineup, but our guys were able to fight and come up with that doubles point which was so critical in a match like this.”
The Buckeyes had an initially slow start in doubles. Mikael Torpegaard and Herkko Pollanen couldn’t find a rhythm and lost the first doubles set to Florin Bragusi and Spencer Papa 6-2. This left the matches on courts 2 and 3, which OSU was down a break on both at the time. However, the Buckeyes came roaring back. Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert on court 3 were down 1-3, before breaking back twice to win the final five games, and the set 6-3 against Jochen Bertsch and Mason Bridegan.
This left the point in the hands of Hugo Di Feo and Martin Joyce for the Buckeyes and Adrian Oetzbach and Alex Ghilea for the Sooners. Down a break at 4-5, Di Feo and Joyce put together some incredible defensive plays to break back at 5-5. Both sides held serve, and the final doubles match came down to a tiebreaker. There Di Feo and Joyce found their rhythm, winning 7-3 to earn the doubles point for the Buckeyes.
“I told Martin that it was coming down to us and that we had to have these next couple of points,” Di Feo said. “At 4-5, we were fortunate that he missed an overhead and I was somehow able to get it back over and get back into the point. Again, they were missing one of their top players in [Andrew] Harris, but they are still a really good team. I think we came out and took advantage the way we needed to get a good win.”
As has been the case recently, singles went a lot more smoothly for OSU. It took the Buckeyes an hour and fifteen minutes to get three singles victories to clinch, and they have now gone 15-0 in singles matches since their loss at Virginia.
Joyce was first to finish for the Buckeyes, defeating Arnaud Restifo 6-3, 6-2. Kyle Seelig followed shortly thereafter with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Bertsch. Torpegaard finished it off for the Buckeyes with a 7-6, 6-1 victory over Papa. Torpegaard continues his undefeated run, and has only dropped two sets all year.
Pollanen was also close to finishing out his match, up 7-5, 5-2 over Oetzbach. Di Feo had just started a third set against Bragusi, and the score was at 6-2, 3-6, 0-1. JJ Wolf was on serve in the second set after dropping the first set, with a score of 6-7, 3-2 against Ghilea.
“Our fans were tremendous today and I could tell our guys fed a little off their enthusiasm,” Tucker said. "Oklahoma coming to town brings out a big crowd, and we obviously wanted to beat those guys. They got us in here the last time we played and we knew it was going to be another tough match.
“Our guys have been through a tough four weeks and they have showed up every match. We’re going to have the next week to get a little rest, but I wish I could enjoy it because we have a trip to Texas coming up to face two more really good teams in Texas and Texas A&M.”
The well-deserved week off comes at the right time as the Buckeyes have faced some of the best teams in the country over the last month. Included in that stretch has been four victories over top-10 ranked teams. The Buckeyes will next head to Texas to face Texas and Texas A&M on March 15 and March 19, respectively.
1. #1 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) def. #24 Spencer Papa (OU) 7-6 (8-6), 6-1
2. JJ Wolf (OSU) vs. #74 Alex Ghilea (OU) 6-7 (4-7), 3-2, unfinished
3. #3 Hugo Di Feo (OSU) vs. #65 Florin Bragusi (OU) 6-2, 3-6, 0-1, unfinished
4. #56 Herkko Pollanen (OSU) vs. Adrian Oetzbach (OU) 7-5, 5-2, unfinished
5. Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Jochen Bertsch (OU) 6-1, 6-4
6. #88 Martin Joyce (OSU) def. Arnaud Restifo (OU) 6-3, 6-2
1. Florin Bragusi/Spencer Papa (OU) def. #20 Mikael Torpegaard/Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 6-2
2. #56 Hugo Di Feo/Martin Joyce (OSU) def. Adrian Oetzbach/Alex Ghilea (OU) 7-6 (7-3)
3. Hunter Tubert/Matt Mendez (OSU) def. Jochen Bertsch/Mason Bridegan (OU) 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,5,1)