The Ohio State men’s tennis team won a nail-biter against Mississippi State 4-3 to advance to the NCAA semifinals against UCLA — which will get underway Monday, May 21 at 2 p.m. ET.
The big story of the quarterfinals game was the comeback by the Buckeyes, who dropped the doubles point for the first time in 20 straight matches, to fall behind 1-0. After Ohio State’s Hunter Tobert dropped in straight sets (6-2, 6-3) to Mississippi State’s Trevor Foshey, Ohio State was down 2-0 and needed to take 4 of the remaining 5 matches to advance.
The Buckeyes tied the match 2-2 after successive victories by No. 112-ranked Martin Joyce, who was dominant in a 7-5, 6-1 defeat of Florian Boska, and by No. 92 John McNally, who was able to defeat higher seeded No. 84 Stranhinja Rakic 6-4, 6-3. Both were solid victories with strong second sets, showcasing the incredible depth of Ohio State’s lineup.
Joyce gets the Buckeyes on the board with a big ace. He wins 7-5, 6-1 pic.twitter.com/NWSWHb6XHl— Ohio State M Tennis (@OhioState_MTEN) May 20, 2018
Despite the two strong victories to tie things up, the match became way more dicey for the Buckeyes when No. 41 J.J. Wolf — who has had a fantastic sophomore campaign — dropped 6-4, 6-3 to MSU’s No. 23 Giovanni Ordini.
Shortly after that match concluded though, Ohio State once again tied things up with No. 96 Kyle Seelig’s 6-1, 7-6(5) defeat of Niclaus Braun. This victory came right as the second set on Court 1 between Ohio State’s No. 6 Mikael Torpegaard and MSU’s No. 2 Nuno Borges was ending, setting up their third set to be the decision-maker for their match and the match-at-large.
The pair split the first two sets, with Torpegaard taking the first 6-4 and Borges taking the second 3-6. Torpregaard through quickly gained momentum, breaking Borges in the second game and holding to go up 3-1. After that, his strong serve and decisive second break carried him the rest of the way to an almost easy 6-1 third set victory capped with an incredible match-point ace.
Buckeyes are off to the semis!!! pic.twitter.com/ef8tZvdyMT— Ohio State M Tennis (@OhioState_MTEN) May 20, 2018
The victory handed Ohio State the narrow 4-3 win and sets them up to face second-seeded UCLA in the national semifinals Monday at 2 p.m. ET. The match will be a tough one for the Buckeyes, but they will look to pull off the upset and avoid a second straight semifinal loss.
More good news came post-match for the Buckeyes, as two Ohio State tennis players, and Coach Ty Tucker, received ITA Midwest awards. The Buckeyes’ No. 1, Mikhael Torpegaard was honored with the ITA Midwest Senior Player of the Year Award while No. 3 John McNally was named the ITA Midwest Rookie Player of the Year.
In addition, Coach Ty Tucker won his seventh ITA Midwest Coach of the Year award after guiding the Buckeyes to another fantastic season and a 13th straight Big Ten Title.
Make sure to continue to follow the Buckeyes today as they take on the Bruins for a spot in the National Championship on Tuesday, May 22.