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Scarlet and Gray advance to quarterfinals at Midtown Tennis Center in Chicago

COLUMBUS, Ohio Down early after losing the doubles point, the No. 1-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team showed its depth in singles, winning, 4-2, vs. No. 20 Pepperdine Friday in first-round action at the 2009 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship at the Midtown Tennis Center in Chicago. Shuhei Uzawa, ranked 77 in singles, claimed the come-from-behind win for the Buckeyes with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Pepperdine’s Alejandro Moreno at No. 6 singles. Uzawa is now 15-5 in singles this season.

With the win, Ohio State (8-0) improves to 2-1 in the all-time series against the Waves and evens its all-time record in the 35th annual championship to, 7-7, winning all seven matches the last three seasons.

Ohio State will now face the winner of the  No. 8 Tennessee/No. 10 Baylor match in a quarterfinals at 4 p.m. EST Saturday for a chance to advance to the semifinals.

After the Buckeyes won the first doubles match of the day at the No. 2 position, Pepperdine battled back to take the final two doubles matches, claiming the doubles point and taking an early 1-0 advantage.

Pairing up for just the second time this season, Bryan Koniecko and Uzawa improved to 2-0 in doubles, defeating Moreno and Mahmoud Kamel, 8-2. No. 45 Omar Altmann and Bassam Beidas defeated Justin Kronauge and Steven Moneke, 8-6, at No. 1 doubles while Matt Allare and Mike O’Connell dropped an 8-6 decision at No. 3 doubles to the Waves’ Alex Liompart and Hugh Clarke.

Koniecko, the nation’s top-ranked singles player, put the Buckeyes on the board after winning, 6-0, 6-2, against Pepperdine’s No. 122 Bassam Beidas at No. 1 singles. The win is Koniecko’s 16-consecutive victory this season and is the senior captain’s 109th win of his career, tying Ernie Fernandez (1979-82) for fifth all-time in career singles wins in program history.

The Waves countered to take a 2-1 advantage seconds later after No. 51 Omar Altmann upset the Buckeyes No. 6 Kronauge, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 2 doubles. The loss is Kronauge’s second of the season at No. 2 singles and is now 17-5 overall this season.

Ohio State’s depth in the singles lineup became evident as the Scarlet and Gray recorded wins at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. No. 3 Moneke won his seventh-consecutive singles match, 6-3, 6-2, against the Waves’ Alex Liompart. Moneke improves to 16-3 on the season.

Balazs Novak, a native of Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, put the Buckeyes ahead for the first time of the day, winning, 6-0, 6-2, against No. 57 Mahmoud Kamel at No. 4 singles. Novak has won seven-consecutive singles matches and moves to 12-3.

Live updates of the Buckeyes’ quarterfinal action Saturday and the remainder of the championships will be available on the official website of the 2009 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championships at www.itatennis.com or www.fightingillini.com.

Tennis Match Results
2009 ITA Division I Men’s Team Indoor Championship
Hosted by University of Illinois
Midtown Tennis Center
Feb. 13, 2009 at Chicago

#1 Ohio State 4, #20 Pepperdine 2
Singles
1. No. 1 Bryan Koniecko (Ohio State) def. No. 122 Bassam Beidas (Pepperdine) 6-0, 6-2
2. No. 51 Omar Altmann (Pepperdine) def. No. 6 Justin Kronauge (Ohio State) 6-4, 6-4
3. No. 3 Steven Moneke (Ohio State) def. Alex Liompart (Pepperdine) 6-3, 6-2
4. No. 38 Balazs Novak (Ohio State) def. No. 57 Mahmoud Kamel (Pepperdine) 6-0, 6-2
5. Matt Allare (Ohio State) vs. Hugh Clarke (Pepperdine) 6-7, 5-2; unfinished
6. *No. 77 Shuhei Uzawa (Ohio State) def. Alejandro Moreno (Pepperdine) 6-3, 6-1
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6,
*Clinching match point

Doubles
1. No. 45 Omar Altmann/Bassam Beidas (Pepperdine) def. Steven Moneke/Justin Kronauge (Ohio State) 8-6
2. Bryan Koniecko/Shuhei Uzawa (Ohio State) def. Alejandro Moreno/Mahmoud Kamel (Pepperdine) 8-2
3. Alex Liompart/Hugh Clarke (Pepperdine) def. Matt Allare/Mike O’Connell (Ohio State) 8-6
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3

Match Notes:
Pepperdine: 6-3; National ranking #20
Ohio State: 8-0; National ranking #1