COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 58th-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team reached the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament with a 4-3 victory against Wisconsin at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Friday afternoon.
The fifth-seeded Badgers (14-11, 5-5 Big Ten) jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but the fourth-seeded Buckeyes (15-10, 7-3 Big Ten) slowly climbed back and won the match with four three-set singles wins. Three of the Buckeyes’ four singles victories came from captains Paloma Escobedo and Cami Hubbs and alternate captain Kelsey Haviland.
The teams began the day by exchanging doubles matches as the Badgers’ Hannah Berner and Jessica Seyferth earned an 8-2 victory against Kara Cecil and Noelle Malley on court two. However, the senior Buckeye duo of Escobedo and Hubbs answered with an 8-3 win over Alaina Trgovich and Nicky Stracar on court one.
The sophomore tandem of Gabby Steele and Fidan Manashirova battled to a 6-6 tie with Aleksandra Markovic and Angela Chupa, but the Badgers took the last two games to win the match, 8-6, and the doubles point.
The outcome appeared bleak for the Buckeyes as Wisconsin roared to a 3-0 lead with a pair of straight set singles victories. Stracar notched a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Steele on court three and Berner scored a 6-4, 6-1 win against Cecil on court four.
Manashirova put the Buckeyes on the scoreboard with her own straight-set victory against Seyferth on court five, winning 6-3, 6-4.
Haviland, the only other Buckeye to win a first set, dropped a close 7-5 second set to Trgovich, while Escobedo and Hubbs notched second-set wins to send the three remaining matches into third sets. Haviland, named Second Team All-Big Ten, put Trgovich away with a 6-3 third-set triumph to move the Buckeyes one point closer to the comeback.
Escobedo followed soon afterward, defeating Hois 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Despite being down 4-2 in the second set, Hubbs battled to a 7-5 second-set win and used the momentum to storm through the third set on the way to a 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 victory to clinch the match and send the Buckeyes to the semifinals to face Michigan.
The Buckeyes and the Wolverines face off at 10 a.m. Saturday. Top-seeded Michigan defeated No. 8 Minnesota, 5-0, to reach the semifinals.
2011 Big Ten Tournament
Ann Arbor, Mich.
No. 4 seed Ohio State (15-10) vs. No. 5 seed Wisconsin (14-11)
No. 1 — Paloma Escobedo (OSU) d. Jenny Hois (Wis), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
No. 2 — Kelsey Haviland (OSU) d. Alaina Trgovich (Wis), 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
No. 3 — Nicky Stracar (Wis) d. Gabby Steele (OSU), 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 — Hannah Berner (Wis) d. Kara Cecil (OSU), 6-4, 6-1
No. 5 — Fidan Manashirova (OSU) d. Jessica Seyferth (Wis), 6-3, 6-4
No. 6 — Cami Hubbs (OSU) d. Aleksandra Markovic (Wis), 4-6, 7-5, 6-0
No. 1 — Paloma Escobedo/Cami Hubbs (OSU) d. Alaina Trgovich/Nicky Stracar (Wis), 8-3
No. 2 — Hannah Berner/Jessica Seyferth (Wis) d. Kara Cecil/Noelle Malley (OSU), 8-2
No. 3 — Aleksandra Markovic/Angela Chupa (Wis) d. Gabby Steele/Fidan Manashirova (OSU), 8-6
Order of Completion: Doubles: 2-1-3; Singles: 3-4-5-2-1-6