May 15, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 17 Ohio State men’s tennis team defeated South Carolina, 4-0, Saturday in first round action at the 2004 NCAA Championship in Chapel Hill, N.C. With the win, the Buckeyes improved to 24-4 overall and will face No. 15 North Carolina at 1 p.m. Sunday in second round play at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill. The Gamecocks, who made their 11th-consecutive NCAA appearance, closed the season with a 15-14 record.

Ohio State took the doubles point as 25th-ranked Joey Atas (Fr., Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) and Jeremy Wurtzman (Sr., Rochester, N.Y./Brickhouse Academy/Florida) topped the Carolina tandem of Geraldo Knorr and Pedro Rodrigues, 8-4, at the No. 1 position. Tom Eklund and Marcus Westman then fell to Buckeyes Scott Green (So., North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) and Ross Wilson (So., Toledo, Ohio/Toledo St. Francis de Sales), 8-5 as OSU took a 1-0 lead in the match.

In singles action, Devin Mullings (Fr., Freeport, Bahamas/Ft. Lauderdale Prepatory) took straight sets from Geraldo Knorr, winning 6-3, 6-1 at the No. 4 spot. The Buckeyes extended their lead to 3-0 as Dennis Mertens (So., Braaschaat, Belgium/Koninkiljk) knocked off USC’s Pedro Rodrigues 6-1, 6-4, at No. 6 singles.

Ohio State clinched the shutout victory as Wurtzman, the third-ranked singles player in the nation, topped the Gamecocks’ Marcus Westman 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 1 court.

“South Carolina played well today, but we were able to take advantage of a few early leads,” Ty Tucker, Ohio State head coach, said. “We got ahead early, especially in doubles, and never looked back. We have done a lot of running lately to prepare for this weather and I think that helped us compete well today. We played well today but now we have to face North Carolina, who is the hardest working team in the nation. It will not be easy.” The winner of that second round match will advance to the Round of 16 in Tulsa, Okla., beginning May 22.

No. 17 Ohio State- 4, South Carolina- 0

1. #3 Jeremy Wurtzman (OSU) def. Marcus Westman (USC), 6-4, 6-2
2. Tom Eklund (USC) vs. Joey Atas (OSU), 7-6 (3), 1-1, susp.
3. Chris Klingemann (OSU) vs. Carl Wermee (USC), 7-6 (5), susp.
4. Devin Mullings (OSU) def. Geraldo Knorr (USC), 6-3, 6-1
5. Ross Wilson (OSU) vs. Ben Atkinson (USC), 5-7, 6-0, 2-0, susp.
6. Dennis Mertens (OSU) def. Pedro Rodrigues (USC), 6-1, 6-4
Order of finish: 4, 6, 1

1. #25 Joey Atas/Jeremy Wurtzman (OSU) def. Geraldo Knorr/Pedro Rodrigues (USC), 8-4
2. Scott Green/Ross Wilson (OSU) def. Tom Eklund/Marcus Westman (USC), 8-5
3. Ben Atkinson/Carl Wermee (USC) vs. Brenton Contini/Dennis Mertens (OSU), 6-6, susp.
Order of finish: 1, 2