Blaz Rola Advances to Second Round at Australian Open
Blaz Rola becomes second Buckeye in program history to win at a Grand Slam
Jan. 14, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Blaz Rola, the 2013 NCAA singles champion and former member of the Ohio State men’s tennis team, advanced to the second round of the 2014 Australian Open Tuesday afternoon after defeating Federico Delbonis of Argentina, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 in the opening round of the men’s singles main draw in Melbourne Park, Australia.
“I’m not shocked at all that he won his match,” said Ty Tucker, head coach and director of Ohio State tennis. “We thought as a coaching staff that college tennis has made him more of an all-around tennis player. He faced a guy that beat Roger Federer on a clay court six months ago but did not have as much experience on hard courts as Rola has gained after playing college tennis the last three years.”
Rola, a native of Ptuj, Slovenia, will now face Martin Klizan of Slovakia in the second round of the elite tournament in match No. 2 on Court No. 19 Wednesday night (Thursday local). Action begins at 7 p.m. ET from day four of the open. Klizan advanced in his opening round match after 13th-seed John Isner of the United States retired, 6-2, 7-6. Klizan currently stands 106th in the singles rankings. Rola becomes the second Buckeye in program history to win at a Grand Slam since Roger Smith in 1988.
“Blaz always was a true professional and I don’t think he’s won his last match at the 2014 Australian Open,” said Tucker.
In a match that lasted two hours and eight minutes, Rola claimed break points in both the first and second sets, respectively, against Delbonis, who came into the match ranked 55th in the world in singles. The four-time ITA All-American then broke Delbonis’ serve for the third time in the third set to win, 7-5, and claim his first career Grand Slam victory.
Check back at OhioStateBuckeyes.com for schedule of events for the second round of the singles main draw of the Australian Open.
The total purse for the 2014 Australian Open for men’s singles main draw is at $23,870,000. A complete breakdown of the purse winnings can be found here.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Coverage of the 2014 Australian Open can be seen on ESPN and the Tennis Channel throughout the tournament. ESPN’s early round coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and will run through 7 a.m. The Tennis Channel will carry coverage from 7 p.m. through 9 p.m., while live streaming of the event can be found on ESPN3.
HOW HE QUALIFIED
Rola posted three-consecutive victories in the qualifying round to earn a spot in his first singles main draw Grand Slam of his career. The native of Rola began his run with a 7-6, 6-4 win over Alessio Di Mauro of Italy followed by a 6-6, 3-6, 6-3 win against Rajeev Ram of the United States. The former Buckeye then punched his ticket to the main draw after downing Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in straight sets 6-1, 6-4.
Rola finished his OSU career with a 110-15 singles record after defeating Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia last spring to become the program’s first NCAA singles champion last spring. He was a four-time All-American and the 2013 Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year.