COLUMBUS, Ohio – Down, 3-0, the No. 2 Ohio State men’s tennis team won four-consecutive singles matches to defeat No. 12 Florida, 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the 2010 ITA National Team Indoor Championship at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday. The Buckeyes will play the winner of the Georgia/Virginia match at 3 p.m. Sunday in the semifinals.
Under 11th-year head coach Ty Tucker, Ohio State (8-0; 0-0 Big Ten) is 1-0 against the Gators and improve to 1-3 all-time. Ohio State is 4-0 against Top 25 opponents this season with victories over No. 22 North Carolina (6-1), No. 16 Louisville (4-2) and No. 13 Pepperdine (6-1). The Buckeyes are 10-8 all-time in the tournament – all wins coming under Tucker.
“It was a big match for us and we fought hard,” Tucker said. “We lost the doubles point after having triple match points. A lot of teams would hang their heads after that, but these guys decided to turn it around. The captains led the way during the 10-minute intermission, talking to the guys and firing them up. We found ourselves down 3-0, but we had great control in the four other matches to take it.”
With the scored tied 3-3, junior Shuhei Uzawa defeated Bob van Overbeek in straight sets 6-4, 7-5 at No. 4 singles to claim match point for Ohio State. The win for Uzawa, a native of Chiba, Japan, snaps his three-game losing streak in singles and he is now 11-7 overall.
“It was exciting with my teammates cheering me on,” Uzawa said. “We were both nervous, but I had coach Schilling by my side throughout the entire match. In the second set, I kept fighting and I broke his serve up 6-5 to win the match. This win definitely helps my confidence.”
The Buckeyes began the day losing their first doubles point of the 2010 campaign. Dino Marcan and Balazs Novak improved to 9-1 overall after downing Joey Burkhardt and Sekou Bangoura, 8-6, at No. 2. Ohio State would then lose two-consecutive matches in super tiebreakers vs. the Gators. At No. 3, Matt Allare and Uzawa lost 9-8 (7-3) to Daniel Cash and Overbeek, while at No. 1, senior co-captain Justin Kronauge and sophomore Chase Buchanan fell to 10th-ranked Antoine Benneteau and Alex Lacroix, 9-8 (9-7).
In singles, the Gators won back-to-back matches to begin competition. Nasim Slilam defeated Allare 6-2, 6-1 at No. 6, while Marcan lost 6-1, 6-1 against Benneteau at No. 3. The loss for Allare puts him at 7-3 overall. Marcan, who began his collegiate year winning nine-consecutive singles matches, is 9-1 overall with a 4-1 mark at No. 3.
Buchanan, ranked No. 103, began the rally for the Buckeyes. He defeated the seventh-ranked singles player in the nation, Lacroix, in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 at the top of the singles lineup. Lacroix is the highest-ranked opponent Buchanan has defeated in his collegiate career.
Kronauge, a native of Dayton, Ohio, followed with his 11th-win of his final season as a Buckeye over Burkhardt at No. 2. He won 6-1, 6-3 to make the score a close 3-2 in favor of Florida. At No. 5, Novak continued his dominance at the fifth position, winning 6-1, 6-2 against Bangoura. Novak improves to 14-3 with an 8-0 dual record and a 3-0 mark at No. 5.
The Buckeyes will look to advance to its third final in four years at the team indoor championship Sunday. Live updates of the semifinal match and the rest of the championship will be available at the official website of the 2010 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship at www.itatennis.com or www.VirginiaSports.com.
Tennis Match Final Results
No. 2 Ohio State 4, No. 12 Florida 3
2010 ITA National Team Indoor Championship
Boar’s Head Sports Club
Hosted by University of VirginiaCharlottesville, Va.
Feb. 13, 2010
1. No. 103 Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. No. 7 Alex Lacroix (UF) – 6-2, 6-4
2. Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. Joey Burkhardt (UF) – 6-1, 6-3
3. Antoine Benneteau (UF) def. Dino Marcan (OSU) – 6-1, 6-1
4. No. 34 Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) def. Bob van Overbeek (UF) – 6-4, 7-5
5. Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Sekou Bangoura (UF) – 6-1, 6-2
6. Nasim Slilam (UF) def. Matt Allare (OSU) – 6-2, 6-1
1. No. 10 Antoine Benneteau/Alex Lacroix (UF) def. Chase Buchanan/Justin Kronauge (OSU) – 9-8 (9-7)
2. Balazs Novak/Dino Marcan (OSU) def. Joey Burkhardt/Sekou Bangoura (UF) – 8-6
3. Bob van Overbeek/Daniel Cash (UF) def. Shuhei Uzawa/Matt Allare (OSU) – 9-8 (7-3)
*Rankings based on latest Campbell/ITA Division I Men’s Tennis Rankings announced Jan. 5
No. 2 Ohio State, 8-0
No. 12 Florida, 5-2
Order of Finish: Doubles (2,3,1), Singles (6,3,1,2,5,4)