Three Former Buckeyes Begin U.S. Open Main Draw Monday
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The success story of the Ohio State men’s tennis program begins a new chapter on Monday. Three former Buckeyes, including Blaz Rola, Chase Buchanan and Peter Kobelt have been selected to compete at the 2014 U.S. Open Tennis Championships beginning this week at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
“It is a great day in Ohio State Tennis to see three former Buckeyes make it to the main draw of a Grand Slam,” director of tennis and head coach Ty Tucker said. “It is fantastic for the three players and it is great for the coaching staff to know that we are working on the right stuff to help these players reach their goals. Chase, Blaz and Peter deserve this great opportunity and Buckeye Nation will be watching.”
Blaz Rola (2011-13) will be the first to hit the courts in the opening day of the championships as the 2013 NCAA singles champion will take on No. 31 Fernando Verdasco (Spain) in the second match on court No. 7. The singles main draw begins at 11 a.m. ET Monday. In doubles, two former Buckeyes earned wild cards into the main draw over the weekend. Chase Buchanan (2009-12), a five-time All-American, will partner with Tennys Sandgren (USA) and will face Mate Pavic (Croatia) and Andre Sa (Brazil) in the opening round Tuesday. Finally, Peter Kobelt (2010-14) will compete in his first Grand Slam main draw doubles event as the 2014 ITA Indoor Most Outstanding Player will be paired with Hunter Reese (USA) and will take on tenth-seeded Michael Llodra and Nicholas Mahut (France) in their opening match.
Rola, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world in singles, will look to continue his successful first year as a professional after advancing to the second round at two Grand Slams earlier in the year at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. In London, Rola faced defending champion Andy Murray live on ESPN, gaining international experience at the highest stage the tennis world can offer. In January, Rola became the first Buckeye to win a singles main draw match at the Australian Open to help raise him into the ATP World Top 100 rankings. Since being on the professional tour, Rola has advanced to five singles finals at challenger tournaments, including a win in Guangzhou, China. Rola, the 2013 NCAA singles champion, has been as high as 80th in the world this year in singles after being ranked No. 201 last November.
Buchanan, a native of New Albany, Ohio, has claimed 15 professional titles that also include nine doubles wins heading into the U.S. Open main draw. His latest victory came at a challenger event in Ecuador when he captured the doubles crown with Peter Polansky (Canada) with a 6-4, 6-4 win in the final. Buchanan paired with Rola last November to win a doubles challenger tournament in Toyota, Japan. At the U.S. Open singles qualifier last week, Buchanan almost pulled off the upset against the top seed and has jumped 105 spots to No. 158 in the world since May.
Kobelt also from New Albany, Ohio, has been busy on the professional circuit since advancing to the doubles final at the 2014 NCAA Championships to wrap up his collegiate career last May. The four-time All-American, Kobelt has won an impressive five doubles finals at eight future tournaments, posting an overall record of 26-3. He won four of his five finals paired with former Buckeye teammate Devin McCarthy, including most recently in Hong Kong July 21. Kobelt will be paired with Hunter Reese (Tennessee), who faced the OSU senior last spring in the NCAA doubles final in Athens.
For live results, T.V. schedule and order of competition, click the link above. Tennis Channel and ESPN will be broadcasting the championships throughout the week.