Ohio State Men’s Tennis Advances to NCAA Semifinals with Hard-Fought 4-2 Win over Columbia

By Dan Hope on May 16, 2024 at 3:50 pm
Robert Cash and JJ Tracy
Ohio State Dept. of Athletics

It didn’t come easily, but Ohio State men’s tennis earned its way into the NCAA semifinals for the third straight year.

The top-seeded Buckeyes outlasted No. 8 seed Columbia, 4-2, in Thursday’s NCAA quarterfinals to advance to the NCAA semifinals, where Ohio State will play either No. 4 seed TCU or No. 5 seed Kentucky on Saturday at noon in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Ohio State’s first match in Stillwater was hotly contested from start to finish, beginning with the doubles point. Cannon Kingsley and Jack Anthrop earned a 6-4 win over Alex Kotzen and Henry Ruger to give Ohio State the early advantage in doubles, but Columbia’s Nicolas Kotzen and Max Westphal evened the score with a 6-4 win over Andrew Lutschaunig and Justin Boulais. With the score tied 4-4 in their match, OSU’s Robert Cash and JJ Tracy won back-to-back games to earn a 6-4 win over Theo Winegar and Michael Zheng and secure the doubles point for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes fell into an early hole in singles as Columbia won the first set in four out of six singles matches. Zheng earned the first singles point of the day for the Lions as he beat Boulais 6-3, 6-1 in straight sets.

Tracy put the Buckeyes back in front with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Nicolas Kotzen. Westphal evened the score for Columbia with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Anthrop.

Kingsley earned a 6-2, 6-4 win over Alex Kotzen to give Ohio State a 3-2 lead. With Ohio State’s championship hopes on the line, Cash and Alexander Bernard both won second-set tiebreaks to force third sets in the two remaining matches.

Bernard won his third set against Hugo Hashimoto, 6-1, to cap off the three-plus-hour marathon match with the deciding point for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State now faces a rematch of one of its semifinal matches from the last two years. The Buckeyes lost to Kentucky in the 2022 semifinals. They defeated TCU in last year’s semifinals before falling to Virginia in the national championship match.

Ohio State, which has made the semifinals eight times since 2009, is seeking the first NCAA championship in program history.

Every NCAA Championship match in Stillwater is being streamed on ESPN+. As the No. 1 seed, Ohio State will play in the first of two semifinals on Saturday; the national championship match will be contested at 5 p.m. Sunday.

View 18 Comments