Fourth-seeded Ohio State won the doubles point, but top-ranked Virginia won four of five singles matches to defeat the Buckeyes 4-2 in an NCAA men’s tennis semifinal yesterday in Stanford, Calif.
The Buckeyes (34-3) had lost the doubles point to Virginia (34-0) in a February match that the Cavaliers won 4-1. Yesterday, Chase Buchanan and Shuhei Uzawa won 8-6 at No.2 doubles and Blaz Rola and Balazs Novak also won 8-6 at third doubles to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead.
Virginia’s top two players – Michael Shabaz and Alex Domijan – then won convincingly over Rola and Buchanan to put the Cavaliers up 2-1.
“It was a battle of four guys in the top 10 of the rankings, and Virginia was able to take our two spots and put two points on the
board in an hour and 15 minutes,” Ohio State coach Ty Tucker said. “Everywhere else it seemed to be a war. Our first-serve percentage wasn’t high, and that was the difference in the match.”
OSU’s Devin McCarthy tied the match with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Justin Shane.
Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia beat Matt Allare 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, and then Sanam Singh clinched the victory for the Cavaliers with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Ille Van Engelen.
“If you beat us at 1, 2 and 4 (singles), we really can’t come back,” Tucker said. “Those are three spots where we’ve won 115 matches and probably lost 10 all season. They beat us at 1, 2 and 4, and pretty convincingly. I thought
it was due to the fact that at 1 and 2 singles they were able to get 30 to 40 free points on their first serves and they did a great job of returning our first serves.”
Virginia coach Brian Boland added, “It was just a great college tennis match again.”
Virginia will play two-time defending champion Southern California (26-2) today in the final. The Trojans beat Georgia 4-0.
Rola, Buchanan and Allare will play in the NCAA singles tournament starting Wednesday at Stanford. Rola and Buchanan will team in the doubles tournament, as will Allare and Peter Kobelt.