COLUMBUS, Ohio – Tied at 3-3 in the last regular-season match of the 2010 season, the Ohio State men’s tennis team picked up four singles victories en route to a 4-3 win over No. 27 Wisconsin and its fifth-consecutive outright Big Ten regular-season title Sunday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison. Senior Justin Kronauge, ranked 40th in the nation, won back-to-back sets over No. 19 Moritz Baumann (6-7, 6-3, 6-3) at No. 2 singles to clinch the match for the Buckeyes. Ohio State finishes the regular-season undefeated (29-1 overall; 10-0 Big Ten) in conference play for the fifth straight year.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match for us,” Kronauge, who has won 21 consecutive matches this year, said. “We didn’t get the doubles point, but we had guys who could step up in the clutch. I’m glad I could get the win for the team. This is huge for me. In my last regular-season match of my career, it’s a very special moment.”
Winning its ninth conference crown, the Buckeyes improve to 37-32 all-time vs. the Badgers. Under 11th-year head coach Ty Tucker, Ohio State is a perfect 18-0 against Wisconsin. The Buckeyes extended their regular-season (non-tournament) win streak to 113, their Big Ten win streak to 62 and its road win streak to 48 consecutive matches. Since dropping their only match of the season to No. 1 Virginia in February, the Scarlet and Gray have won 21 consecutive matches, including an 8-0 record on the road.
“It was a tough match in tough conditions,” Tucker said. “I’m very proud of Justin with his performance today and now we need to get refocused and prepare for the Big Ten Tournament next week.”
The Badgers snapped the Buckeyes’ 19-straight doubles point win streak, winning at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. Kronauge and junior Balazs Novak began the opening part of competition with an 8-4 victory over Chris Freeman and Luke Rassow-Kantor. The Buckeye duo remains perfect on the season with a 16-0 record, including 14 wins at No. 3.
The Badgers began their momentum when Michael Dierberger and Patrick Pohlmann won, 8-6, over juniors Shuhei Uzawa and Matt Allare at No. 2 doubles. The Buckeye pair falls to 19-10 on the year. Sixteenth-ranked Marek Michalicka and Baumann claimed the first point of the match after defeating No. 10 Chase Buchanan and Dino Marcan, 9-8, at No. 1. The loss for the two Buckeyes is just the second of the season, which snaps a 14-match win streak.
In singles, Novak evened the score, 1-1, with his 31st win of the season. He defeated Freeman in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3 to improve his win streak to 12 consecutive matches. At No. 5, Uzawa gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the afternoon, winning 6-3, 6-2 over Billy Bertha. At the top of the lineup, 10th-ranked Buchanan defeated his 15th nationally-ranked opponent on the year with a 6-2, 6-0 performance against No. 28 Michalicka. Buchanan is 26-4 overall, winning his last 17 matches. He also owns a 21-1 record at No. 1 singles.
Wisconsin then began its push for the upset with two straight victories at Nos. 6 and 3 singles, respectively. Allare fell to Rassow-Kantor 6-4, 7-6 at No. 6, breaking a 13-match win streak for Allare. Marcan lost 6-2, 6-2 against Pohlmann. The first-year Buckeye is now 21-8 overall and 7-3 in conference play.
The Buckeyes are now 114-5 in their last 119 league matches, including postseason play. Ohio State has not lost to a Big Ten opponent on the road since the 2004-05 campaign, a 5-2 loss at Northwestern.
With the undefeated record in Big Ten regular-season play, Ohio State will receive the No.1-seed in the 2010 Big Ten Tournament April 29-May 2, in Bloomington, Ind.
No. 4 Ohio State 4, No. 27 Wisconsin 3
Nielsen Tennis Stadium
April 25, 2010
Tennis Match Final Results
1. No. 10 Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. No. 28 Marek Michalicka (WIS) – 6-2, 6-0
2. No. 40 Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. No. 19 Moritz Baumann (OSU) – 6-7, 6-3, 6-3
3. Patrick Pohlmann (WIS) def. No. 103 Dino Marcan (OSU) – 6-2, 6-2
4. Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Chris Freeman (WIS) – 6-1, 6-3
5. Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) def. Billy Bertha (WIS) – 6-3, 6-2
6. Luke Rassow-Kantor (WIS) def. Matt Allare (OSU) – 6-4, 7-6
1. No. 16 Moritz Baumann/Marek Michalicka (WIS) def. No. 10 Chase Buchanan/Dino Marcan – 9-8
2. Michael Dierberger/Patrick Pohlmann (WIS) def. Matt Allare/Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) – 8-6
3. Justin Kronauge/Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Chris Freeman/Luke Rassow-Kantor (WIS) – 8-4
*Rankings from latest Campbell/ITA Division I College Tennis Rankings announced April 20
Ohio State 29-1; 10-0 Big Ten; National ranking No. 4
Wisconsin 18-7, 7-3 Big Ten; National ranking No. 27
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,5,1,6,3,2)