COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s tennis will travel for its final regular season road contests on Thursday with upcoming matches against Northwestern and Illinois.
Ohio State enters the weekend with a record of 22-2 overall and 7-0 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes are coming off a roadtrip last weekend that saw them pick up wins over Nebraska and No. 48 Iowa and will look to build on their current six-match win streak with wins this weekend. The win at Nebraska also kept the Buckeyes perfect against the Cornhuskers at 12-0 while the Iowa win was the 22nd in a row vs. the Hawkeyes
The latest ITA National Rankings were released on Tuesday with four Buckeyes listed in singles, four listed in doubles and the team ranked at No. 2
The Northwestern Wildcats will enter Friday evening’s match with a record 13-10, and wins in four of their last five matches. Northwestern most recently defeated Michigan State on the road in East Lansing to improve their conference record to 4-3. Simen Bratholm and Nick Brookes lead the way for the Wildcats, listed at No. 27 in the nation in doubles in the latest ITA Rankings.
Following Friday’s match in Evanston, the Buckeyes will travel to Champaign to take on No. 14 Illinois in one of this season’s most highly-anticipated matches, and arguably the biggest one in the Big Ten conference in 2019.
The No. 14 Fighting Illini enter this weekend with an overall record of 13-6, 7-0 in conference play. On Friday, while Ohio State takes on Northwestern, Illinois will host No. 35 Penn State. Illinois in singles play is led by Aleks Kovacevic. Kovacevic is 14-0 this season and ranked No. 6 in the nation. Things are aligning for us to see No. 1 JJ Wolf and No. 6 Kovacevic battle it out for what could determine Big Ten Player of The Year. Both players have not lost a match yet this season with Wolf at 25-0 in the 2018-19 season. Also ranked in singles for the Fighting Illini is No. 48 Alex Brown. Brown is also part of a tandem for Illinois that is listed at No. 41 in the national rankings for doubles.
The Buckeyes trail Illinois 49-53-1 in the all-time record with Ty Tucker posting a record of 24-12 against the Illini. The regular season and B1G Tournament Championships have been won by Ohio State or Illinois every season since 1997. Last year, Ohio State dominated Illinois 4-0 in Columbus before defeating them a second time in the Big Ten tournament in Iowa City, 4-0.
Ohio State will look to advance to 24-2 for the 2019 season, and 9-0 in Big Ten play with wins over the Wildcats and the Fighting Illini.