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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 30 Ohio State women’s tennis team (12-4, 1-1 Big Ten) fell in a close, 4-3 match to No. 57 Purdue (10-1, 2-1 Big Ten) in West Lafayette, Ind. Friday.

Purdue took the early lead after winning the doubles point. The Buckeyes took the match on court two to begin doubles, but the Boilermakers stormed back to win the two remaining matches. At No. 1, Purdue’s Michelle Sammons and Jennifer Rabot downed Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs, 8-3. On court two, the Buckeye twosome of Paloma Escobedo and Christina Keesey defeated Gisella Pere and Anna Dushkina, 8-2. Ohio State freshmen Gabby Steele and Fidan Manashirova kept it close against Imogen Golder and Bhavani Tirumurti, but dropped the match, 8-5, to give Purdue a 1-0 lead.

The Boilermakers quickly expanded the lead to 3-0 after Pere took her match against Manashirova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, on court six and Tirumurti bested Haviland by the same score on court three.

Ohio State battled back to tie the match at 3 after winning on courts one, four and five. At the top position, No. 49 Kirsten Flower needed three sets to top Sammons, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, to stretch her win streak to four matches. Keesey, playing on court four, fought through an early deficit to rally and take her match against Dushkina, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Steele won her team-leading 18th match of the season, downing Golder in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.

With the match on the line on court two, Escobedo and Rabot played to an exciting third set ending. The Ohio State junior took the first set, 6-1, before Rabot responded with a 7-5 victory in the second set. Down 5-2 in the third frame, Escobedo climbed back to a 5-4 score before the sophomore from Purdue closed the door on the comeback to clinch the match and the win for the Boilermakers.

The Buckeyes return to action Tuesday on the road against Long Beach State in Long Beach, Calif., in the first match of the team’s spring break trip. The second match showcases the Scarlet and Gray about the Rice Owls in Houston, Texas, March 27. The team then returns home April 2 to continue Big Ten play against Minnesota.

Tennis Match Results
Ohio State vs Purdue
Mar 12, 2010 at West Lafayette, Ind.
(Schwartz Tennis Center)

#57 Purdue 4, #30 Ohio State 3

Singles competition
1. #49 Kirsten Flower (OSU) def. Michelle Sammons (PUR) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
2. Jennifer Rabot (PUR) def. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) 1-6, 7-5, 6-4
3. Bhavani Tirumurti (PUR) def. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 6-4, 6-3
4. Christina Keesey (OSU) def. Anna Dushkina (PUR) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
5. Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Imogen Golder (PUR) 6-1, 6-1
6. Gisella Pere (PUR) def. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) 6-4, 6-3

Doubles competition
1. Michelle Sammons/Jennifer Rabot (PUR) def. Kelsey Haviland/Cami Hubbs (OSU) 8-3
2. Paloma Escobedo/Christina Keesey (OSU) def. Gisella Pere/Anna Dushkina (PUR) 8-2
3. Imogen Golder/Bhavani Tirumurti (PUR) def. Gabby Steele/Fidan Manashirova (OSU) 8-5

Match Notes:
Ohio State 12-4 (1-1); National ranking #30
Purdue 10-1 (2-1); National ranking #57
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,3,5,1,4,2)
T-3:50