COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 38 Ohio State women’s tennis team continued its 2010 campaign with a 7-0 win over the No. 34 Kentucky Wildcats (1-4) Wednesday afternoon in the Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. The victory improves the Buckeyes to 6-1 on the season, including five shutout victories.

“I liked the way we played today,” Merzbacher, whose team beat Kentucky for the first time since March 13, 1999, said. “Getting every singles match was huge for us. Kentucky plays hard and competes well; we’re just a little better this year.”

The Scarlet and Gray duo of freshmen Fidan Manshirova and Gabby Steele got the match started with a dominating 8-0 win over Kentucky’s Nicole Scates and Elle Coldiron. On the second court, the story was the same as Ohio State’s Paloma Escobedo and Christina Keesey shut out the Wildcat tandem of Christine Johnston and Minnette Pienaar, 8-0.

In the top doubles match, Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs faced UK’s Megan Broderick and Caroline Lilley. After falling behind 3-1, the Buckeyes battled back to 4-3 with a chance to tie the match on serve, but the Wildcats broke to win the point, setting the score to 5-3. The Kentucky duo never let up from there, going on to win the match 8-4.

After clinching the doubles point, Steele won her match against Coldiron in straight sets (6-0, 6-0) at the fifth position. Quickly following suit at the sixth spot, fellow freshman Manashirova put away Scates in straight sets 6-1, 6-0. Steele and Manashirova lead the Buckeyes with 12 victories this season. Steele is 6-1 in the spring, with Manashirova 5-1 in dual-match play.

At the top of the lineup, No. 53 ranked senior Kirsten Flower clinched the match with a 6-0, 6-3 decision over Broderick. At No. 3 singles, Keesey rallied after dropping the first set to a 10-8 victory in the super tiebreaker to give her a 3-6, 6-0, 10-8 win.

As members of the Buckeye squad began cheering loudly, Haviland, who had dropped the first set but rallied to tie the match at a set each, put away Pienaar at No. 4 with a 10-5 score in the tiebreaker to win 2-6, 6-3, 10-5. She remains unbeaten in 2010 with a 7-0 record, leading the team in dual-match victories and ranking third with 11 wins on the year.

After battling to a 7-5 win from being down 3-1 in the first set at No. 2 vs. Lilley, Escobedo dropped the second set, 6-4, to push the match to a super tiebreaker. Escobedo prevailed in a hard-fought tiebreaker, 10-8, to complete the sweep for the Buckeyes. Escobedo was down, 4-1 and 5-2 early in the tiebreaker, but fought to tie the score at 6-all. She then trailed 7-8 but won the final three points for the 10-8 victory in the super tiebreaker.

The Buckeye netters return to action Friday against William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and Sunday against Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

Tennis Match Results
Kentucky vs Ohio State
Feb 03, 2010 at Columbus, Ohio
(Varsity Indoor Tennis Center)
#38 Ohio State 7, #34 Kentucky 0
 Singles competition
1. #53 Kirsten Flower (OSU) def. Megan Broderick (UK) 6-0, 6-3
2. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Caroline Lilley (UK) 7-5, 4-6, 10-8
3. Christina Keesey (OSU) def. Christine Johnston (UK) 3-6, 6-0, 10-8
4. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) def. Minnette Pienaar (UK) 2-6, 6-3, 10-5
5. Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Elle Coldiron (UK) 6-0, 6-0
6. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Nicole Scates (UK) 6-1, 6-0
 Doubles competition
1. Megan Broderick/Caroline Lilley (UK) def. Kelsey Haviland/Cami Hubbs (OSU) 8-4
2. Paloma Escobedo/Christina Keesey (OSU) def. Christine Johnston/Minnette Pienaar (UK) 8-0
3. Gabby Steele/Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Nicole Scates/Elle Coldiron (UK) 8-0
Match Notes:
Kentucky 1-4; National ranking #34
Ohio State 6-1; National ranking #38
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (5,6,1,3,4,2)