COLUMBUS, Ohio Behind four singles wins, including the last three to close out the match, the fifth-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat No. 18 Texas A&M, 4-3, Friday at the City of Bryan Indoor Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.
The Buckeyes, who will look to return to College Station for the NCAA championships in May, lost the doubles point for just the second time this season. However, with wins at Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 singles, Ohio State avoided the upset. The win improves the Scarlet and Gray to 16-1 overall (2-0 Big Ten). The Aggies drop to 5-5 overall.
With Ohio State down, 3-1, sophomore Balazs Novak cut the Texas A&M lead to one (3-2) following his straight-set win over Marcus Lint 6-4, 6-4. Novak, ranked 71st in the nation, was the lone Buckeye to down his opponent in straight frames. With the win, the native of Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, improves his win streak to seven matches and remains undefeated at No. 5 singles with a 6-0 ledger.
Playing No. 4 singles, Matt Allare forced the contest to the seventh and deciding match after he downed Alexey Grigorov 7-6, 6-7, 6-3. Despite playing two tiebreakers, Allare and Grigorov were not the last two off the court at Bryan Indoor Tennis Center. Winner of 15 in a row, Allare, a Mason, Ohio, native certainly is comfortable at No. 4 singles with a 6-0 record.
It was up to No. 100 Shuhei Uzawa to clinch the win for the Buckeyes at No. 6. Uzawa was able to get the first-set win over Kayvon Karimi, 6-4, but relinquished the second frame, 6-3. However, Uzawa broke Karimi in the fifth game of the third set to go up 3-2 and held serve in the sixth game. The sophomore from Chiba, Japan, shut out Karimi the rest of the way to win the final set, 6-2. Uzawa is now a winner of seven-consecutive matches.
Junior Justin Kronauge began the Buckeye rally at No. 3 when he gave Ohio State its first point following a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 22 Wil Spencer. Now 9-0 at No. 3 singles, Kronauge, who hails from Dayton, Ohio, has put together a seven-match win streak.
Ohio State began the match on a rough note, losing at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles to trail, 1-0, early. Facing the sixth-ranked tandem in the nation in Austin Krajicek and Conor Pollock, Allare and Kronauge suffered a 9-7 setback. Not long after, Bryan Koniecko and Uzawa lost to Colin Hoover and Grigorov, 9-8.
The Aggies soon took a 3-1 lead on singles victories by Pollock, No. 24 in the nation, over sixth-ranked Koniecko 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 and Krajicek over No. 4 Steven Moneke 6-4, 6-3.
The Buckeyes will head back out West for a matchup against No. 14 Pepperdine at 4 p.m. ET March 23 at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu, Calif.
Tennis Match Results
Ohio State vs. Texas A&M
March 13, 2009 at College Station, Texas
(City of Bryan Indoor Tennis Center)
#5 Ohio State 4, #18 Texas A&M 3
1. #24 Conor Pollock (TEXASAM) def. #6 Bryan Koniecko (OSU) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
2. #107 Austin Krajicek (TEXASAM) def. #4 Steven Moneke (OSU) 6-4, 6-3
3. #20 Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. #22 Wil Spencer (TEXASAM) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
4. Matt Allare (OSU) def. Alexey Grigorov (TEXASAM) 7-6, 6-7, 6-3
5. #71 Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Marcus Lunt (TEXASAM) 6-4, 6-4
6. #100 Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) def. Kayvon Karimi (TEXASAM) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
1. #6 Austin Krajicek/Conor Pollock (TEXASAM) def. Matt Allare/Justin Kronauge (OSU) 9-7
2. Colin Hoover/Alexey Grigorov (TEXASAM) def. Bryan Koniecko/Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) 9-8
3. Wil Spencer/Marcus Lunt (TEXASAM) vs. #43 Steven Moneke/Balazs Novak (OSU) 7-8, unfinished
Ohio State 16-1; National ranking #5
Texas A&M 5-5; National ranking #18
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (2,3,1,5,4,6)