Blaz Rola, junior for the Ohio State men’s tennis team, has been crowned the 2013 NCAA singles champion.
Rola took down No. 3 Jarmere Jenkins of the University of Virginia 7-6(8), 6-4 on Sunday to complete his run through the tournament to claim the first ever singles championship in program history.
After the Buckeyes fell to No. 1 UCLA last week it looked as though the men’s tennis program would be left without a national championship again this season. Rola was the highest ranked player entering the tournament for the Buckeyes but his No. 12 ranking did not instill much confidence in the OSU faithful.
Despite this Rola defeated six ranked opponents, and only lost one set throughout the tournament en route to his championship victory.
The championship comes a year after Rola advanced to the semifinals but fell 6-2, 6-1 to Kentucky’s Eric Quigley. It completed a 32-1 season for the Slovenian, his only loss coming at the hands of Jared Hiltzik of Illinois, the Big Ten freshman of the year.
A hard fought first set saw Rola win the tiebreak 10-8 despite giving up four-consecutive wins to allow Jenkins to tie the set at 6-6. In the second set Rola broke in the 7th game and held serve for the rest of the match for the 6-4 and the championship.
This was not the first national championship Rola has earned in his time at OSU. He was last season’s doubles champion with his partner Chase Buchanan. Rola is also a four-time All-American and a three-time unanimous First Team All-Big Ten pick.