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Column: Men’s and Women’s tennis teams punch tickets to national tournament

Tennis is alive and well at Ohio State, and you came to the right place to get you amped up for the season.

When you think of Ohio State athletics, one of the first sports that should pop into your head is tennis. Both the men’s and women’s teams have been dominant for a good part of the 21st century. Right now, I want to focus on both of them because they just secured their spots in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Nation Team Indoor Championship!

Before you click out of this article because it isn’t about football or men’s basketball, I ask that you read through to learn how phenomenal both of the tennis teams actually are. Tennis is such a fun sport to watch. There is so much concentration and precision, yet passion — especially with young athletes. This is what truly shines through.

The men’s team is currently ranked No. 5 nationally and the women’s team is No. 11. While the ladies have had a bit of a rough start to the season, losing both of their opening matches to top 10 teams, they seemed to have found their stride during the ITA Kickoff Weekend Tournament this past weekend.

The female Bucks won their first round of matches 4-1 against No. 24 Oklahoma State on Saturday, then won the championship round against No. 20 Tennessee with a 4-0 sweep on Sunday. These girls are unbelievable to watch. Having been in attendance for their match against Oklahoma State, I could not fathom how hard they hit the ball, how they maneuvered certain shots or how they even got to some balls.

No. 123 Sydni Ratliff is one of the most interesting stories on the team. She is only a freshman, yet she is already tearing it up on the court. Against Tennessee, Ratliff upset No. 56 Elza Tomase, 6-3, for her third-straight victory. Additionally, in doubles Ratliff and her partner, No. 6 Irina Cantos, rallied from being down 1-4 to win the game 7-5.

Another great story for both teams is the Boulais siblings. Isabelle is a senior and Justin is a junior. Isabelle is currently 4-0 this spring in singles, and Justin is perfect thus far as well. In 2019, Isabelle was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was a NCAA doubles qualifier last year. Justin has had a solid first two seasons of his collegiate career, posting winning records in both.

Moving onto the men’s story, they have started off great, per usual. They are 4-0 to start the season, and beat Arizona State and No. 17 UNC in the ITA tournament to advance to the championship. The Buckeyes are now 27-1 all time, and 13-1 in the championship round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend tournament.

The doubles duo of Matej Vocel and Robert Cash are currently unbeaten this spring, both from very different places. Vocel is from Prague, while Cash is right at home from New Albany (about 20 minutes from campus). In addition to being killer in doubles, Vocel is ranked No. 5 nationally in singles.

The Buckeyes have gotten a semi-easy start to the season, facing no team ranked higher than 17. That is about to change as they get ready to face No. 1 Tennessee this Friday, before hosting No. 6 Virginia on Sunday. If you live in Columbus, I highly recommend you stop by to watch them play. The Ty Tucker Tennis Center is an amazing sight to see. Plus, both matches are free of charge!

Both teams are having great seasons, with highly-ranked players on each team. They made deep postseason runs last year and look primed to do just that again this season. The players are so fiery and fun to watch, and I want to invite you to stay up with their season! A lot of their matches are streamed online or can be followed statically on their website.

Poll

Did you watch any Australian Open matches this year?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Yes, so fun!
    (6 votes)
  • 62%
    No, I didn’t want to wake up at 3 a.m.
    (10 votes)
16 votes total Vote Now