For the second time in five months, a postseason competition between Ohio State and Georgia came down to the wire. This time, the Buckeyes came out on top.
The third-seeded Ohio State men’s tennis team defeated No. 6 seed Georgia, 4-3, in the NCAA quarterfinals on Friday. Ironically enough, the Buckeyes will now face TCU in the NCAA semifinals, who beat Michigan in its quarterfinal on Friday just as its football team did in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Georgia took the early lead in Friday’s quarterfinal with Ohio State – which was originally scheduled to be played on Thursday night but was postponed to Friday afternoon due to heavy rain in Orlando, Florida – by winning the doubles point. Georgia came within one point of winning the match as Ethan Quinn and Trent Bryde defeated Ohio State’s Justin Boulais and JJ Tracy in straight sets in their singles matches, taking a 3-2 lead after Ohio State’s James Trotter and Jack Anthrop cruised to victories in their singles matches.
Cannon Kingsley earned a 6-4, 7-5 win over Georgia’s Phillip Henning to tie the score at 3-3. In the deciding match of the quarterfinal, Alex Bernard took the first set 6-4 and rallied back from a 5-3 deficit to win the second set 7-5 and defeat Georgia’s Miguel Perez Pena for the clinching point.
Ohio State will face TCU, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, at noon Saturday. If the Buckeyes can upset the Horned Frogs, they’ll face the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal between No. 1 seed Texas – one of only two teams that’s beaten the 33-2 Buckeyes this year – and No. 5 seed Virginia in the national championship match on Sunday at noon.
With Friday’s victory, Ohio State has advanced to the national semifinals for the second year in a row. The Buckeyes were defeated by Kentucky, 4-1, in last year’s semifinals.
Ohio State, which has now reached the Final Four six times since 2009, has never won the men’s tennis national championship. The Buckeyes are 2-3 all-time in NCAA semifinal matches, reaching the final in 2009 and 2018 with semifinal wins over UCLA.