Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics
Two members of the Ohio State men’s tennis team have made history by winning three major doubles championships in one year.
Senior Chase Buchanan and sophomore Blaz Rola won the 2012 NCAA Doubles Championship title, beating the unseeded Texas Tech senior pairing of Raony Carvalho and senior Gonzalo Escobar, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Buchanan and Rola became the first pair in NCAA history to win the D’Novo/ITA All-America Championships, USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships and NCAA Championships.
“It’s the most amazing feeling in the world – for me and for Ohio State,” Buchanan said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s very special and I feel very blessed to be in this position after four years.”
OSU’s No. 1-seeded pair went 36-4 this season and 14-0 during their three championship runs. Buchanan and Rola both said the key was to relax and have fun.
“Before the (National Championship), we were talking about enjoying the time we have together as our last doubles match we will ever play together in college,” Buchanan said. “We just wanted to have fun and not worry about winning or losing.”
Rola said he and Buchanan didn’t get to savor the victory immediately following the win.
“There wasn’t much celebrating, we’re actually on our way to the airport,” Rola said. “My girlfriend from Europe is in town waiting for me and I have two weeks of school work to get caught up on, but after that, there will be time to celebrate.”
Buchanan and Rola were down a break in the first set, 3-1, but took a 5-4 lead before a rain delay moved the match indoors. The Buckeyes took control with a 7-4 tiebreaker and that momentum carried into the second set, where they closed out the win, 6-3.
“At the end I was a little nervous,” Buchanan said. “It was hard to stay calm, but I think we did a good job of that and enjoyed each other and the stage.”
Buchanan, an Ohio native, is sixth in OSU history with 112 career doubles victories. He also owns the OSU single-season doubles record with 44 doubles wins this season. Buchanan said he credited coach Ty Tucker with giving him the necessary confidence to win in the tournament.
“We do so many different things every day on how we can get better on our game,” Buchanan said. “We play so many different styles and our coaches do a great job of getting us comfortable and prepared.”
The biggest challenge during the NCAA tournament was against a team they didn’t prepare to see, and had to fight to stay alive.
“The Oklahoma team was an unknown team for us,” Rola said. “We were down at the break in the second and third and to shift that momentum back was the toughest part of the whole tournament.”
Both players said the win was bittersweet.
“Playing without Chase will be a huge loss for Ohio State and for me,” Rola said. “It’s going to be hard to repeat this success without him.”But a national title doesn’t mean the two are hanging up their rackets anytime soon.
“It’s going to suck not playing in college with Blaz, but it was an unbelievable way to end,” Buchanan said. “We are going to hopefully play in some doubles tournaments in the summer together.”
As a team, No. 5-ranked OSU lost to UCLA, 4-2, on May 20 in the NCAA Championship Quarterfinals. But Rola said he is still pleased with the way his season ended.
“You can’t ask for more, leaving the last tournament as a winner,” Rola said. “I don’t see that loss at all, I feel happy and satisfied winning the doubles.”