The Ohio State men’s tennis team has come out of the month of March looking like a lion. After identifying themselves as kings of the Big Ten, the Buckeyes are now ranked number one in the nation for the second time this season.
Playing on the road Friday and Sunday against Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively, the Buckeyes (23-2, 8-0) solidified their spot atop the ITA rankings.
Against the Badgers (9-11, 1-6) Sunday, the second and third doubles teams got off to fast starts to earn the point for the Buckeyes.
Redshirt-junior Kevin Metka and freshman Herkko Pollanen defeated junior Michael Sinha and sophomore Jakhongir Jalalov, 8-4, while redshirt-junior Hunter Callahan and redshirt-sophomore Chris Diaz crushed sophomore Frederik Strabo and freshman Elliott Sprecher, 8-2.
Moving to singles play, Callahan and redshirt-freshman Ralf Steinbach were off first after dominating the back end of the Badgers’ lineup.
Callahan defeated Strabo 6-1, 6-0 and Steinbach beat Sinha 6-3, 6-3.
Senior Peter Kobelt clinched the match for the Buckeyes off with a 7-5, 6-1 win over sophomore Alexander Kokorev. Kobelt, ranked No. 8 in the country for singles, had lost his previous two matches, but came out strong on Sunday.
“A whole lot of tennis is just forgetting about the past and that was my goal (Sunday),” Kobelt said Sunday. “Just try to play good tennis and I was able to do that (Sunday). The results come after that. I was able to get a win … hopefully the wins keep coming. You can only prepare to play good tennis, not win or lose.”
Metka, Pollanen and Diaz all won in straight sets as well to sweep all matches and give the Buckeyes the 7-0 win.
Friday against the Gophers (9-9, 3-3) the number one doubles team of Kobelt and Steinbach got in on the action along with Callahan and Diaz to give the Buckeyes the doubles point.
Kobelt and Steinbach defeated juniors Leandro Toledo and Eric Frueh 8-7 (7-2) while Callahan and Diaz beat junior Mathieu Froment and sophomore Ruben Weber 8-5.
In singles, Steinbach and Callahan were off first this time after winning their respective matches.
Steinbach took down freshman Jeremy Lynn 6-1, 6-1 and Callahan beat senior Juan Pablo Ramirez 6-3, 6-1.
Kobelt was upset by Toledo 6-1, 7-6 (7-5), but shortly after, Metka defeated Frueh 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) to give the Buckeyes the match.
A win by Pollanen and loss by Diaz made the final score 5-2.
Next the Buckeyes are scheduled for a big non-conference road test at No. 14 Kentucky Wednesday. The two teams played each other Feb. 7, with the Buckeyes winning 4-0.
The match against the Wildcats in Lexington, Ky., is set to begin at 2 p.m.