Sept. 25, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Playing in his first ATP Challenger Tour event, Ohio State junior Mikael Torpegaard claims the Columbus Challenger singles title, defeating world No. 97 Benjamin Becker 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 inside the OSU Varsity Tennis Center on Sunday.
This is just a continuation of a tremendous run Torpegaard has been on in 2016. He ascended to the No. 1 collegiate ranking in the spring, finished runner-up in the NCAA Singles Championship in May, advanced to a pair of Futures Tour finals, won his first Futures event and clinched a pivotal Davis Cup match for Denmark over the summer. Then earlier this month, he was ranked as the No. 1 collegiate player in the country in the Oracle ITA preseason rankings.
After a great run through a solid field, he faced the top-seeded Becker in Sunday’s final. The match opened with each playing trying to feel the other one out. After each held serve through the first eight games, Torpegaard jumped on Becker’s serve and claimed the first break of the match to go up 5-4. He then held serve at love and won the first set 6-4.
Becker responded with a very solid second set. The German native broke Torpegaard’s first service game and raced out to a 3-0 lead. He later broke Torpegaard a second time and would go on to win the set 6-1.
In the first game of the deciding set, Torpegaard fended off three break points to hold serve and grab a bit of momentum. Leading 2-1, Torpegaard came back from down 0-40 to force three deuce points and a pair of break points but Becker was able to hold to remain on serve 2-2.
After holding serve, Torpegaard again put pressure on Becker by attacking his second serve and would snag the first break of the final set to pull in front 4-2. A strong service game gave him a bit more late-match bounce and he was able to close out the victory 6-2 in the third.
Torpegaard came into the week ranked No. 642 in the world and will surely rise in the next rankings. He will start the collegiate season in a little over a week as the Buckeyes head to Tulsa, Okla., for the ITA All-American Championships. Torpegaard has received an invitation into the main singles draw while he and doubles partner Herkko Pollanen will be in the main doubles draw.
Sept. 24, 2016
Mikael Torpegaard’s tremendous week continues as he downed Tennys Sandgren 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the semifinals of the Columbus Challenger on Saturday. The Denmark native received a wild card into the main singles draw and has won four-straight matches to reach Sunday’s final. Torpegaard will face top-seed Benjamin Becker in his first Challenger final at 2:00 p.m.
The semifinals of the doubles draw was contested on Saturday evening as well and Torpegaard and Herkko Pollanen took on Mikelis Libietis and Dennis Novikov. The Buckeye duo had a good run this week but it came to an end on Saturday as they fell in a tie-breaker in both sets.
Sept. 23, 2016
After a day off, the Buckeyes returned to action on Friday and had a great day. Torpegaard took down one of the hotter players in the tournament, qualifier Gonzales Austin. Austin won his way through the qualifying draw and then won a pair of matches to make the quarterfinal but Torpegaard took his steam away early by winning the opening set 6-2. The Buckeye then secured his place in the semis with a 7-5 victory in the second set.
Following a brief break, Torpegaard joined teammate Herkko Pollanen to take on Steven De Ward and Ben McLachlan in the quarterfinals of the doubles draw. Like his singles match, Torpegaard and Pollanen raced to a 6-2 win in the first set and then completed the sweep with a solid 6-4 win in the second.
Torpegaard will face No. 264 Tennys Sandgren in the semifinals on Saturday. Sandgren knocked-off former Buckeye All-American Blaz Rola in the second round. The doubles semifinal will also be on Saturday and the Buckeyes team will tangle with Mikelis Libietis and big serving Dennis Novikov. Libietis and Novikov knocked-off top-seeded Sam Groth and Austin Kreajicek in the first round.
Sept. 21, 2016
The final two Buckeyes competed in the singles draw on Wednesday. Blaz Rola took on Tennys Sandgren on court one and would end up falling 7-6 (3), 6-3. The first set was played on serve right into the tie-breaker. Sandgren broke Rola to take a 3-2 and used that momentum to win the breaker 7-3.
In the second, Rola had a chance at a break at 3-3 but Sandgren was able to gut out a hold and then grabbed a break of his own in the next game to take control of the set. He would eventually win the set and the match 6-3.
The Mikael Torpegaard and Peter Polansky match followed Rola’s match on court one. Torpegaard set the tone for the opening set by breaking Polansky in the first game. He broke him again, taking a 5-2 lead and was serving for the set when he was broken. After Polansky held, Torpegaard closed the set by holding on love to win 6-4.
In the second Polansky went up 3-0 early after grabbing an early break and fended off a break point to remain in front 4-1. After Torpegaard staved off a couple of breaks points at 4-1, he responded with a break to get back on serve. The set remained on serve and headed to a tie-break where Polansky won five of the first six points. He would go on to win the breaker 7-2 and force a deciding third set.
The third set was on serve until Torpegaard picked up his fourth break of the match to pull ahead 4-2. A strong service game, including his 14th ace of the match, put Torpegaard one game away from the win at 5-2. Polansky then held and got back into the set with another break at 5-4. The ensuing game was a good one. Three deuce points, a game point for Polanasky and three match points later, Torpegaard would pull out the 6-4 win to advance into the quarterfinals.
He will face the winner of the Frank Dancevic and Gonzales Austin match on Friday. The Denmark native will also team with Herkko Pollanen on Friday in the quarterfinals of the doubles draw.
Sept. 20, 2016
Most of the members of the Ohio State men’s tennis team opened the 2016 season this week at the ATP Columbus Challenger which is being hosted at the OSU Varsity Tennis Center just north of campus.
In qualifying action over the weekend, senior Herkko Pollanen defeated Dennis Uspensky 6-4, 6-1 in the opening round but fell in the second round to Jared Hiltzik. Redshirt-freshman Kyle Seelig also won his opening round qualifying match 6-4, 6-0 before dropping a three-set match to qualifier Mikelis Libietis.
Sophomore Hunter Tubert and redshirt-sophomore Hugo Di Feo each won in the first round and squared-off in the second round on Sunday. Tubert won the opening set in a tie-breaker (7-3) and then stormed to a 6-2 win in the second. He would then fall on Monday morning to Libietis.
Redshirt-junior Riley Reist won 7-0 in a first-set tie-break over David O’Hare and then won the match with a 6-4 win in the second set. He would later fall in Sunday’s second round to qualifier Gonzales Austin.
The singles main draw also opened on Monday afternoon with a solid victory from junior Mikael Torpegaard. The top ranked collegiate player in the country downed world No. 319 Nicolas Meister 6-4, 6-3. He will take on Peter Polansky, who is ranked No. 160 and is the No. 4-seed this week, on Wednesday.
Former Buckeye national champion Blaz Rola and current sophomore Martin Joyce each started their singles tournament on Tuesday. Rola had a workman-like 6-3, 6-2 victory over Nicolaas Scholtz to advance into the second round. For Joyce, he was downed by Gonzales Austin 6-4, 6-2.
The doubles draw got underway on Tuesday as well. Torpegaard and Pollanen pulled-out a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (5) victory over O’Hare and Joe Salisbury. The Buckeye duo got an early break in the first and then would break again to take the first set. After trading breaks at the onset of the second, Torpegaard and Pollanen were broken at 4-3 and would go on to lose 6-4. But in the super-breaker, the Buckeyes won the first five points in the race to 10 and would take the deciding set 10-5.
Di Feo and Joyce teamed-up later in the day to take on Brits Luke Bambridge and Lloyd Glasspool. Bambridge and Glasspool won a tightly contested first set 7-5 and then took the match 6-2 in the second.
Rola and Torpegaard will be the third and fourth singles matches on court one on Wednesday. Play is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.