ATHENS, Ga. – After morning rain showers forced play indoors, the No. 4-seed Ohio State men’s tennis team shut out Wisconsin, 4-0, Friday in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Division I Team Championship at Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility in Athens, Ga. The Buckeyes (35-1) will now face No. 5-seed USC at 1 p.m. ET Sunday in a quarterfinal match. The win over the Badgers marks the fifth-consecutive year Ohio State has advanced to the quarterfinals of the championship.
Senior co-captain Justin Kronauge claimed match point for the Buckeyes at No. 2 singles with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 30 Marek Michalicka. The win moves the three-time unanimous All-Big Ten honoree to first (tie) on the program’s career singles wins list.
“It’s definitely exciting to be back in Athens in my final postseason as a Buckeye,” Kronauge said. “It’s a great accomplishment and I think it takes a little pressure off me. I’m just trying to do what is best for the team.”
The Buckeyes improve to 39-32 all-time vs. Wisconsin, defeating the Badgers three times this year (4-3, April 25; 4-0 May 1). Under 11th-year head coach Ty Tucker, Ohio State has compiled a 25-10 record in NCAA play. Tucker remains perfect against the Badgers, improving to 20-0 overall. The Buckeyes also extended their season win streak to 26 matches.
“Anything can happen in the NCAA tournament,” Tucker said. “We know Wisconsin very well and we knew coming in doubles would be an important factor to the match. Anything can happen in doubles. I think we had a let-court winner at 15-40 down double-match point at No. 1 and everything started bouncing our way from there.”
In doubles, the Buckeyes battled in one of their toughest points of the 2010 season. Ohio State began its momentum at No. 3 when Kronauge and junior Balazs Novak won, 8-6, over Billy Bertha and Chris Freeman. With the win, the Buckeye duo remains undefeated with a 21-0 overall record. Kronauge, who became the program’s all-time leader in doubles wins last weekend in Columbus, now has 127 career doubles wins.
Wisconsin showed its strength in doubles following a win at No. 2. Patrick Pohlmann and Mike Dierberger downed juniors Matt Allare and Shuhei Uzawa, 8-2, to even the score in the opening competition. Allare and Uzawa fall to 22-12 on the year.
With the Buckeyes and Badgers spitting Nos. 2 and 3, the first point of the match came down to a highly-competitive No. 1 contest. Down, 4-2, Tucker refocused sophomore Chase Buchanan and freshman Dino Marcan between games and it looked like the coaching strategy worked. Buchanan and Marcan, ranked ninth in the country, battled from behind to take three-consecutive break points against 15th-ranked Moritz Baumann and Michalicka to win 9-7 and take the crucial first point of the match. The Buckeye pair improves to 20-2 overall, claiming its 11th victory vs. a nationally-ranked duo.
Eighth-ranked Buchanan got singles started for Ohio State with a 6-3, 6-2 win against No. 24 Baumann at No. 1. The Big Ten Athlete of the Year, Buchanan now owns a 29-4 record in his second season with a 24-1 ledger at the top of the lineup. He has won his last 20 matches this season.
Novak put the Buckeyes within one point of advancement after defeating Freeman in straight sets 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4. A native of Budapest, Hungary, Novak owns a team-best 37 wins (six losses) with an 18-match win streak.
Live stats of the rematch of the 2009 NCAA final between the Buckeyes and Trojans will be available at www.ncaa.com and www.georgiadogs.com.
2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Team Championship
Round of 16
No. 4 Ohio State 4 , No. 27 Wisconsin 0
Dan Magill Tennis Complex
Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility
May 21, 2010
Tennis Match Final Results
1. No. 8 Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. No. 24 Moritz Baumann (WIS) – 6-3, 6-2
2. No. 23 Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. No. 30 Marek Michalicka (WIS) – 6-3, 6-2
3. Dino Marcan (OSU) vs. Patrick Pohlmann (WIS) – 7-6 (7-5), unfinished
4. Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Chris Freeman (WIS) – 6-1, 6-4
5. Matt Allare (OSU) vs. Billy Bertha (WIS) – 3-2, unfinished
6. Devin McCarthy (OSU) vs. Mike Dierberger – DNP
1. No. 9 Chase Buchanan/Dino Marcan (OSU) def. No. 15 Moritz Baumann/Marek Michalicka (WIS) – 9-7
2. Patrick Pohlmann/Mike Dierberger (WIS) def. Matt Allare/Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) – 8-2
3. Justin Kronauge/Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Billy Bertha/Chris Freeman (WIS) – 8-6
*Rankings from latest Campbell/ITA Division I College Tennis Rankings Announced May 3
Ohio State 35-1; National ranking No. 4
Wisconsin 21-8; National ranking No. 27
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,4,2)
Buckeyes extend win streak to 26 matches
Ohio State is 25-10 all-time in NCAA play under the helm of Tucker