COLUMBUS, Ohio The return to the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center was not a sweet one for the No. 35 Ohio State women’s tennis team (11-7, 4-1 Big Ten), losing 5-2, against rival and 23rd-ranked Michigan (10-5, 5-1 Big Ten) Friday. The match was the first in Columbus since March 13 for the Buckeyes as well as their first Big Ten loss of 2009.
The top spot saw Kirsten Flower face off with 106th-ranked Rika Tatsuno, where the Buckeye junior recovered from a 6-3 first set loss by picking up a strong 6-2 second frame victory. Flower held a 5-3 third set advantage, but saw Tatsuno respond with three games of her own to take a 6-5 lead. After tying the set at 6-all, Flower shot out to a 3-1 tiebreaker lead. Tatsuno managed to get it to 5-all, but Flower would not be denied, winning the tiebreaker, set and match, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6).
Angela DiPastina lost in her first set at No. 6 singles to Michelle Sulahian, 7-6 (3), but rebounded in a big way in the second set by coming through with a 6-3 win. Tied at 6-all in the third, DiPastina and Sulahian went to a set tiebreaker, where the Buckeye senior outlasted the Michigan freshman to take the match, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4).
No. 4 singles pitted Buckeye Christina Keesey, winner of eight consecutive matches entering play, against Tania Mahtani. Keesey grabbed a 6-3 first set win, but Mahtani answered right back with a 6-1 second frame victory of her own. The third set would also belong to Mahtani, taking the match 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Cami Hubbs had a hard time getting things going against Michigan sophomore Denise Muresan at No. 3, falling in the first set 6-1. The second set saw more of a fight from Hubbs, rallying from a 4-1 hole to 4-3, before Muresan put the match away, 6-1, 6-4.
Paloma Escobedo took a 7-5 first set loss against the 67th-ranked Chisako Sugiyama at No. 2 singles. Sugiyama proved to be too tough in the second set as well, winning the set and the match, 7-5, 6-3.
Julie Blackmore took the first game of the first set at No. 5 before Whitney Taney ran off six wins in a row to claim the first frame. It was more of the same from the Wolverine sophomore in the second set, as Taney took a straight set, 6-1, 6-1 win.
In doubles, Escobedo and Flower saw their hard work pay off at No. 3, coming from behind to tie the match at five different occasions, before taking the match in a tiebreaker, 8-7 (5), over the Michigan team of Howard and Muresan.
After a 2-all deadlock at No. 2 doubles, the Michigan pair of Taney and Tatsuno ran off six consecutive wins over Blackmore and Hubbs, handing the Buckeyes an 8-2 loss. Keesey and DiPastina could not find their rhythm either at No. 1 against the 26th-ranked Wolverine tandem of Sugiyama and Mahtani, falling into a 5-0 match deficit before taking an 8-1 loss.
Ohio State returns to the court Sunday to face another Michigan school, Michigan State, at noon. The match is scheduled to be played outside at the Stickney Tennis Center, but may be moved inside in the case of inclement weather.
Tennis Match Results
Michigan vs Ohio State
Apr 03, 2009 at Columbus, Ohio
#23 Michigan 5, #35 Ohio State 2
1. Kirsten Flower (OSU) def. #106 Rika Tatsuno (UM) 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6)
2. #67 Chisako Sugiyama (UM) def. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) 7-5, 6-3
3. Denise Muresan (UM) def. Cami Hubbs (OSU) 6-1, 6-4
4. Tania Mahtani (UM) def. Christina Keesey (OSU) 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
5. Whitney Taney (UM) def. Julie Blackmore (OSU) 6-1, 6-1
6. Angela DiPastina (OSU) def. Michelle Sulahian (UM) 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
1. #26 Chisako Sugiyama/Tania Mahtani (UM) def. Christina Keesey/Angela DiPastina (OSU) 8-1
2. Rika Tatsuno/Whitney Taney (UM) def. Julie Blackmore/Cami Hubbs (OSU) 8-2
3. Paloma Escobedo/Kirsten Flower (OSU) def. Lindsey Howard/Denise Muresan (UM) 8-7 (7-5)
Michigan 10-5 (5-1 Big Ten); National ranking #23
Ohio State 11-7 (4-1 Big Ten); National ranking #35
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (5,3,4,2,1,6)