NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Fighting through a delayed start, four stoppages of play due to rain and an early match deficit, the No. 41 Georgia Tech women’s tennis team edged No. 25 Ohio State Friday afternoon at the Currey Tennis Center in NCAA Championship first round action. The Buckeyes claimed the doubles point and the first singles match to open with a 2-0 lead before the Yellow Jackets rallied for a comeback victory. Tech would win four singles matches, clinched by junior Nami Otsuka, to capture their 36th NCAA Tournament victory.
“I’m very proud of the fight in this team,” commented head coach Rodney Harmon. “Today was a quality NCAA Tournament match and was well-played by both teams. Ohio State has a great team and they showed that today. I’m proud of our players for regrouping after dropping the doubles point and playing strong in singles. Nami [Otsuka] had a great match and really showed her grit in the third set. We’re excited to face Vanderbilt for another tough match tomorrow.”
DOUBLES ACTION: Ohio State took the early lead in the match, claiming the doubles point with victories on courts one and two. Valeriya Deminova and Victoria Flores drew the match back to 2-all on court one, but Shiori Fukuda and Kolie Allen won the next four points to take the first match, 6-2. Nami Otsuka and Gia Cohen came out with a 2-0 lead on court two, but Isabelle Boulais and Danielle Wolf pocketed the next four games to take a 4-2 lead. The Yellow Jackets came within 4-3, but the Buckeyes clinched the doubles point with a 6-3 victory.
SINGLES ACTION: Ohio State’s No. 110 Fukuda cushioned the Buckeyes’ lead to 2-0 with a straight-set win on court three before Kenya Jones put the Jackets on the scoreboard. Competing at the top seed, No. 9 Jones battled No. 56 Boulais to a straight-set victory. The junior cruised in the first set, 6-0, but Boulais and Jones stood tied at 4-all in the second set. Jones claimed the next two games for a 6-4 second set victory, securing Tech’s first point of the match.
Nadia Gizdova tied the match at 2-2 from court six where the junior notched a victory over Mary Beth Hurley. Opening with a 3-1 lead in the first set, Gizdova won the first set, 6-3, and raced out with a 3-1 lead in the second set. The junior knotted the match at 2-all with a 6-1 second set triumph.
Tech took its first lead of the match following a victory from Cohen on court four over Wolf. Cohen held a 4-2 lead in the opening set, but Wolf rallied to tie the set at 6-6. Cohen opened the tiebreak with a 5-3 advantage before Wolf came back in the breaker to 6-6, but the Jacket persevered for the final two points to claim the set. Wolf grabbed an early lead in the second set, holding a 4-3 edge, before Cohen answered taking a 6-5 advantage and sealed the win, 7-5, for a 3-2 Tech match lead.
The match came down to the final court after Ohio State won on court five in three sets, leaving the decision on court two where Otsuka and No. 100 Allen were in a third set. Allen took the opener, 7-5, but Otsuka forced a final set after pocketing the second set, 6-4. Otsuka came out strong in the third set, leading 5-1 before Allen won the next five games to lead, 6-5. The Jacket fought off two match points in the next game to knot the set at 6-6. After trailing 2-1 in the tiebreak, Otsuka won the next three points to grab a 4-2 lead and would clinch the victory for Tech, winning the tiebreak, 7-4.
* Georgia Tech avenged a regular season loss to Ohio State in the first dual match of the season in the ITA Kick-Off in Atlanta
* The Yellow Jackets recorded the first win over Ohio State since 2005, snapping a four-match skid to the Buckeyes
* The victory marked the first over Ohio State in NCAA Tournament action – the foes met once before in 2016 in the round of 16 with the Buckeyes taking the match, 4-2
UP NEXT: Georgia Tech advances to the NCAA Championships second round for the 19th time in program history on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets will meet the winner of No. 8 Vanderbilt/Miami (Ohio) at 2 p.m. EST.
1- Shiori Fukuda/Kolie Allen (OSU) def. Victoria Flores/Valeriya Deminova (GT) 6-2
2- Isabelle Boulais/Danielle Wolf (OSU) def. Gia Cohen/Nami Otsuka (GT) 6-3
3-Kenya Jones/Nadia Gizdova (GT) vs. Luna Dormet/Andrea Ballinger (OSU) 4-4, DNF
Order of finish: 1, 2
1 -No. 9 Kenya Jones (GT) vs. No. 56 Isabelle Boulais (OSU) 6-0, 6-4
2- Nami Otsuka (GT) def. No. 100 Kolie Allen (OSU) 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
3- No. 110 Shiori Fukuda (OSU) def. Valeriya Deminova (GT) 6-1, 6-0
4- Gia Cohen (GT) def. Danielle Wolf (OSU) 7-6 (8-6), 7-5
5- Luna Dormet (OSU) def. Victoria Flores (GT) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4
6- Nadia Gizdova (GT) def. Mary Beth Hurley (OSU) 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish: 3, 1, 6, 4, 5, 2