Ohio State tennis will get a chance to capture its first NCAA Outdoor Championship Sunday.
The No. 3 Buckeyes swept past No. 2 TCU 4-0 in Orlando, Fla. Saturday to advance to the national finals against No. 5 Virginia after the Cavaliers beat No. 1 Texas Saturday afternoon.
Beating the Horned Frogs gave the Scarlet and Gray a taste of revenge as well. TCU eliminated them from the 2021 NCAAs in the Sweet 16 and beat them in the following 2022 ITA Indoor National Championship Match by a narrow 4-3 margin.
Ohio State’s No. 21 ranked doubles pairing of Justin Boulais and Robert Cash captured a huge gust of momentum early for the Buckeyes, upsetting the No. 2 duo in the entire country — TCU’s Jake Fearnley and Luc Fomba — by a 6-3 scoreline.
After TCU’s Sander Jong and Jack Pinnington, the No. 84 partnership nationally, beat OSU’s Cannon Kingsley and J.J. Tracy 6-4, it came down to a tiebreaker in the final doubles match to decide the doubles point.
A double-fault from the Horned Frogs secured victory for the Buckeyes’ No. 16 Andrew Lutschaunig and James Trotter over Sebastian Gorzny and Pedro Vives, putting Ohio State ahead 1-0 entering singles play.
Ohio State’s Jack Anthrop, perhaps displaying more emotion than anyone else on the courts Saturday, flew past TCU’s Lui Maxted 6-2, 6-2 to put the Buckeyes up 2-0. Anthrop won many of his key points at the net, some of his overhand smashes nearly clearing the fence behind Maxted after their first in-bounds bounce. He won his match point on such a shot.
No. 24 Boulais came back from down a break in his opening set with No. 21 Fearnley to win 6-4, 6-3 and make it 3-0 Ohio State.
That left four singles matches in play, and a win in any single one of them would secure a spot in the National Championship Match for the Buckeyes.
As spectators migrated to their right, Ohio State freshman and 41st-ranked Alexander Bernard watched a shot go wide from Grozny, putting him up a break at 5-4 after taking his first set 6-4. Just like he did in Friday’s quarterfinal matchup against Georgia, he’d be serving for the match.
A forehand winner from the youngster led three teammates to mob him as the Buckeyes’ advancement to the National Championship Match was secured.
Ohio State will meet Virginia at noon Sunday in Orlando for the title.