COLUMBUS, Ohio – It has become a familiar situation for the Ohio State men’s tennis team. For the seventh-consecutive season, the fourth-ranked Buckeyes will contend for the Big Ten Tournament title after shutting out No. 27 Wisconsin, 4-0, Saturday at the IU Tennis Center in Bloomington, Ind. Ohio State will face the winner of the Michigan/Illinois match at noon Sunday in the tournament final.
The Buckeyes (31-1; 11-0 Big Ten) are the four-time defending tournament champions after runner-up finishes in 2004 and 2005.With the victory over Wisconsin, Ohio State extended its Big Ten Tournament win streak to 14. Just as impressive is head coach Ty Tucker’s 24-5 mark in conference tournament action. The 11-year coaching veteran also has led the Buckeyes to 115 wins in their last 120 league matches.
After the Buckeyes edged the Badgers, 4-3, less than a week ago in Madison to earn its fifth-straight regular-season conference crown, they again were tested by Wisconsin in both teams’ efforts to reach the final.
One crucial difference from the matchup last weekend – Ohio State won the doubles point Saturday, but it was not an easy victory. The Scarlet and Gray were up a match after senior Justin Kronauge and junior Balazs Novak downed Chris Freeman and Luke Rassow-Kantor, 8-4, at No. 3. However, the Wisconsin pair of Mike Dierberger and Patrick Pohlmann pulled the Badgers even at one match apiece when they beat juniors Matt Allare and Shuhei Uzawa, at No. 2 doubles, 8-3. All eyes rested on No. 1 doubles where the 15th-ranked Buckeye duo of sophomore Chase Buchanan and freshman Dino Marcan ousted No. 14 Moritz Baumann and Marek Michalicka, 9-8. It was a closely contested match with Buchanan and Marcan winning the tiebreaker, 7-5.
Momentum appeared to remain with Ohio State as straight-set singles victories ensued. Ranked 31st in the nation, Kronauge is now just one match shy of tying Steven Moneke (146: 2006-09) for first on the program’s all-time singles wins list. Kronauge picked up his 145th career victory following his 6-2, 6-1 win over 28th-ranked Michalicka at No. 2.
Buchanan’s 6-3, 6-4 win against 22nd-ranked Baumann at No. 1 gave the Buckeyes a 3-0 advantage. The 2010 Big Ten Player of the Year, the ninth-ranked Buchanan has won 18 consecutive matches, which is second only to Kronauge’s 23 for the team lead.
Novak sealed the Buckeye victory after he collected his 33rd win of the season. An owner of 14-straight wins, Novak handed Chris Freeman a 6-3, 6-4 loss at the fourth position.
Tennis Match Results
No. 4 Ohio State, 4 vs. No. 27 Wisconsin, 0
May 1, 2010
Bloomington, Ind. (IU Tennis Center)
1. No. 9 Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. No. 22 Moritz Baumann (WIS) 6-3, 6-4
2. No. 31 Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. No. 28 Marek Michalicka (WIS) 6-2, 6-1
3. Dino Marcan (OSU) vs. Patrick Pohlmann (WIS) 2-6, 5-4, unfinished
4. Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Chris Freeman (WIS) 6-3, 6-4
5. Matt Allare (OSU) vs. Luke Rassow-Kantor (WIS) 3-6, 6-3, 3-2, unfinished
6. Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) vs. Billy Bertha (WIS) 7-5, 2-2, unfinished
1. No. 15 Chase Buchanan/Dino Marcan (OSU) def. No. 14 Moritz Baumann/Marek Michalicka (WIS) 9-8 (7-5)
2. Mike Dierberger/Patrick Pohlmann (WIS) def. Matt Allare/Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) 8-3
3. Justin Kronauge/Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Chris Freeman/Luke Rassow-Kantor (WIS) 8-4
Wisconsin 19-6; National ranking No. 27
Ohio State 31-1; National ranking No. 4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,1,4)