Jan. 4, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio– As the collegiate tennis season is set to get underway, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association released the season’s first rankings Thursday and the Ohio State men’s tennis team is ranked fourth. Buckeye redshirt junior Peter Kobelt jumped 34 places to become the nation’s No. 1-ranked men’s singles player (ITA Polls).

The Buckeyes, who finished the 2012 season ranked fourth, follow No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 USC and No. 3 UCLA in the poll. Eight of Ohio State’s 2013 opponents are ranked in the Top 20 – (in order of schedule) No. 6 Georgia, No. 24 LSU, No. 18 North Carolina, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 22 Indiana, No. 9 Kentucky, No. 16 Illinois and No. 20 Michigan (complete 2013 schedule).

Kobelt leads the men’s singles field with an average score of 68.87, edging Matija Pecotic of Princeton and Alex Domijan of Virginia, who are tied for second (67.31). The Buckeye from New Albany, Ohio, finished the fall campaign with a 14-3 record, including a 3-1 mark against nationally ranked opponents. The 2012 ITA Midwest Regional champion, Kobelt was the runner-up at the ITA All-American Championships in October. Kobelt’s notable wins during the fall included beating Kentucky’s and No. 12 Anthony Rossi, No. 10 and Georgia’s KU Singh and Michigan’s and No. 53 Vlad Stefan. Kobelt did drop a three-set match to Mississippi’s Jonas Lutjen 6-3, 2-6, 6-7 (0-1) in the first round of the ITA National Indoor championships in November. Lutjen, who at the time was ranked 21st, is now No. 5 in the latest rankings.

Kobelt’s teammates Connor Smith and Chris Diaz also earned Top 30 standings. Smith is No. 13, while Diaz is 30th. Smith and Diaz concluded the fall season with eight wins each. Smith posted an 8-3 ledger, while Diaz went 8-1. A winner over then-No. 18 Stefan Vinti of Mississippi State, Diaz took then-No. 1 Henrique Cunha of Duke to a three-set match in the second round (1-6, 7-5, 2-6) of the ITA All-American championships. Diaz previously had won eight consecutive matches in the pre-qualifiers and qualifiers of the event to advance to the main draw.

Ohio State’s 2013 slate is set to begin in less than two weeks when it hosts Butler and Xavier Jan. 16 at the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. The Buckeyes will face the Bulldogs at noon before playing the Musketeers at 6 p.m.