The No. 4-seeded Ohio State men’s tennis team has advanced to the NCAA Championship Tournament semifinals after defeating No. 5-seeded Baylor, 4-2, in the quarterfinals Saturday. The Buckeyes continue their run at the NCAA Championship against No. 1-seeded Virginia today.
Virginia defeated the Buckeyes, 4-1, on Feb. 20. OSU seniors Balazs Novak and Shuhei Uzawa listed the Cavaliers as one of the toughest opponents the team could face in this tournament.
“We’re really excited to play them,” redshirt sophomore Devin McCarthy said. “We lost to them at National Indoors (Feb. 20) and thought it was close enough that we could win.”
The match against Baylor was the first in the tournament that the Buckeyes didn’t win, 4-0. It was also the team’s first match against a seeded opponent.
OSU had to fight hard for the doubles point but was eventually able to secure it, allowing the team to lead, 1-0, in the beginning of the match.
The Buckeyes started down by one match in doubles action when Baylor sophomore Roberto Maytin and senior John Peers defeated senior Matt Allare and redshirt freshman Peter Kobelt, 8-3.
After the initial loss, OSU doubles pairs, Novak and freshman Blaz Rola, and junior Chase Buchanan and Uzawa, were able to secure the doubles point for the Buckeyes.
Uzawa and Buchanan rebounded from a 5-4 deficit in the match against Baylor seniors Sergio Ramirez and Jordan Rux to win their match, 8-6.
Novak and Rola also contributed to the doubles point by beating Baylor juniors Julien Bley and Kike Grangeiro, 8-3.
McCarthy said the team needs to keep working on the doubles point to continue to be successful.
“Everyone has their own individual things they need to work on,” he said. “But the doubles point is really big.”
The two teams moved onto singles action where OSU only surrendered two points and picked up three more to give the team the win.
Rux was able to defeat OSU freshman Ille Van Engelen, 7-5, 6-1, and Maytin defeated Allare, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, for Baylor’s only two points of the match.
Buchanan, Rola and Novak provided the last three points OSU needed to win the match and advance to the next round.
Buchanan finished with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Ramirez, and then Novak defeated Bley, 7-6, 6-3.
Rola took the remaining singles point, defeating Peers, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.
The winner between OSU and Virginia will face the winner of the match between Georgia and Southern California on Tuesday.