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Championship bound! TCU eliminates No. 1 Ohio State in NCAA semifinals

Championship bound!  TCU eliminates No. 1 Ohio State in NCAA semifinals


STILLWATER, OK. TCU is headed to the NCAA D1 Men's Tennis Championship for the first time in school history.

The fourth-seeded Horned Frogs defeated No. 1 Ohio State 4-2 in the semifinals of college tennis' top event on Saturday at the Greenwood Tennis Center.

TCU (27-4) avenged a 4-3 loss to Ohio State (34-2) on Feb. 19 in the ITA Indoor National Championship, returning the favor after a 2023 NCAA semifinal loss to the Buckeyes.

“Not home yet,” said the head coach David Roditi. “Here we are, with all our die-hard fans, our family, our 'Keeping it Purple' committee, these people, they got us through today. I couldn't be more proud of our boys. So exciting. First final ever for TCU. What those guys did today, there are no words to describe it except, 'We're not going home.' We have one more game, we are doing everything we can to be ready tomorrow and I know our guys will show up just like they did today.”

In Sunday's finals (4 p.m. CT), TCU will face a familiar foe, while the Horned Frogs will battle No. 2 Texas for all the marbles. The Longhorns skated past No. 6 Wake Forest 4-2 in part two of Saturday's semifinal doubleheader.

The championship dual marks the eighth meeting overall and the fourth with title implications in the past two seasons between the two college tennis titans. TCU won both the 2023 Indoor National Championship and the Big 12 Championship at the expense of the Longhorns. Texas claimed this season's conference crown over TCU on April 21 in the program's most recent head-to-head matchup.

Straights initially seemed disastrous for TCU vs. the Buckeyes and were playing in their sixth Final Four. The Horned Frogs lost the doubles point in a tiebreaker at three and saw Ohio State build early leads on multiple courts to begin singles play. TCU flipped the switch from there, taking four of the first six sets before clinching the match with victories on the top and bottom courts.

Sebastian Gorzny leveled the doubles at 1-1 and defeated Alexander Bernard 6-3, 6-4, in fifth position. Jack Pinnington Then TCU posted its first lead in a game that lasted nearly four hours. Pinnington, ranked No. 13 nationally, anchored court one, defeated No. 34 Justin Boulais by a margin of 6-4, 7-5. Ohio State evened the score with a three-sets-to-five victory.

The match in turn came down to courts two, three and six, all of which had a third set.

Jake Fearnleythe ITA No. 7 singles player, put TCU ahead for good by two and overwhelmed No. 17 Cannon Kingsley, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.

The match clincher belonged to Tomas Jirousek, who faced three-time All-American Robert Cash at the age of six. Jirousek lost 1-6 in set one against Cash, who won the Indoor National Championship vs. TCU won. The fifth-year senior took the second set 6-2 and was staring at a 3-5 hole in the third frame. Jirousek broke twice and won four games in a row to pull off the upset.

Pedro Vives trailed No. 19 JJ Tracy, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 1-4, when Jirousek made his comeback in the third set. Vives was tied with Tracy in four games when play was stopped.

TCU improved to 55-33 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Roditi is now 29-9 on the offseason.

Saturday's win also guaranteed TCU a top-two final ITA team ranking, the first time the program will reach this milestone.

Doubles canceled

Fearnley and Vives recorded their third win over a top-five tandem in as many matches, beating No. 3 Tracy and Cash 6-4 on the top court. The TCU duo, which played in the NCAA tournament, was ranked 63rdrdnationally, also homecoming postseason wins over No. 1 Garrett Johns and Pedro Rodenas of Duke and Kentucky's fourth-ranked tandem of Joshua Lapadat and Taha Baadi.

They are now 6-0 as partners, with all but one win coming against ranked opposition.

However, TCU was unable to overcome an early break in second position and advance in a three-way tiebreaker.

Gorzny and Pinnington fell 6-3 to de Boulais and Andrew Lutschaunig, one of two All-American Buckeye doubles pairs at two.

Duncan Chan And Lazy Maxted faced Jack Anthrop and Kingsley in what turned out to be a winner-take-all battle at three. Neither duo could secure a break. Anthrop and Kingsley built a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak en route to a 7-4 clincher.

TCU fell to 21-10 overall in doubles, but is 8-2 when doubles is dropped.

Doubles results

  1. #63 Jake Fearnley / Pedro Vives (TCU) final #3 JJ Tracy / Robert Cash (OSU): 6-4
  2. Justin Boulais / Andrew Lutschaunig (OSU) def. Sebastian Gorzny / Jack Pinnington (TCU): 6-3
  3. Jack Anthrop / Cannon Kingsley (OSU) Duncan Chan / Lazy Maxted (TCU): 7-6 [7-4]

Order of finish: 2, 1, 3

Singles overview

Gorzny's straight set takedown of Bernard overlapped with a pair of first set clinchers from Pinnington and Vives, swinging the pendulum back in TCU's favor.

Bernard came in undefeated at 21-0 in doubles. Gorzny avenged a semi-final loss to Bernard at five in 2023 with his performance.

Pinnington and Fearnley swept Boulais and Kingsley for the second time this season. Pinnington has now won nine consecutive matches on court one. He is a team best at 32-7 overall in singles. The sophomore's 32 singles victories are the most in a season by any Horned Frog in the Big 12 era.

Fearnley improved his record to 15-2. Both he and Pinnington are 8-0 in national championships this spring.

Jirousek picked up his team-leading sixth match-clincher of the season and third in postseason affairs.

Maxted came up short vs. Anthrop, 3-6, 6-2, 5-7, at four, giving Ohio State its only singles court. He led in set three 5-3.

Singles results

  1. #13 Jack Pinnington (TCU) final #34 Justin Boulais (OSU): 6-4, 7-5
  2. #7 Jake Fearnley (TCU) final #17 Cannon Kingsley (OSU): 7-5, 5-7, 6-2
  3. #73 Pedro Vives (TCU) vs. #19 JJ Tracy: 7-6 [7-5]3-6, 4-4, incomplete
  4. #30 Jack Anthrop (OSU) def. #77 Lazy Maxted (TCU): 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
  5. #78 Sebastian Gorzny (TCU) final Alexander Bernard (OSU): 6-3, 6-4
  6. Tomas Jirousek (TCU) final Robert Cash (OSU): 1-6, 6-2, 7-5

Order of finish: 5, 1, 4, 2, 6




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