WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – The 36th-ranked Purdue men’s tennis team was unable to overcome an early deficit to top-ranked Ohio State as the Boilermakers suffered a 4-3 loss outdoors Sunday. Purdue dropped its only home match of the season in its final outing at the Schwartz Tennis Center, taking its record to 15-4, 7-2 Big Ten. The Boilermakers, who are currently second in the league standings, closed out their home slate with a 10-1 record. With the win, the Buckeyes remained in command of the Big Ten with an 8-0 record and they are 25-3 overall.
The uphill climb for Purdue started by surrendering the doubles point and then fell in the first two singles matches. Trailing 3-0, the Boilermakers strung together back-to-back victories making it 3-2 with two matches still out on the courts. Ohio State sealed the deal with a win at No. 2. Purdue senior Aaron Dujovne battled No. 124 Kevin Metka down to the very last game and emerged with a 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 win to earn the third and final team point.
“We knew it was going to be a close match, we were expecting that,” head men’s tennis coach Pawel Gajdzik said. “Doubles got away from us and then we had one or two matches that we didn’t play our best at. It just comes down to a couple points here and there. We are disappointed, but we will come back next week, we will learn from this. We are looking to finish the regular season strong and take that into the Big Ten Tournament and hopefully NCAAs.”
At No. 1 doubles, Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt and Ralf Steinbach took an 8-1 decision over the 74th-ranked duo of Ricky Medinilla and Szymon Tatarczyk. Following at No. 3, the Boilermaker tandem of Mark Kovacs and Mateus Silva were dealt an 8-2 setback at the hands of Kevin Metka and Herkko Pollanen. It was just the fifth time in 19 matches played that the Boilermakers lost the critical point.
Out of the break, a pair of nationally ranked Buckeyes picked up singles victories at Nos. 1 and 6. Kobelt, who’s ranked ninth, defeated Tatarczyk, 6-1, 6-1. Silva’s 14-match winning streak came to a halt as No. 109 Hunter Callahan handed the Boilermaker a 6-4, 6-0 setback.
The momentum then took a swing for Purdue. Playing at No. 3, Kovcas prevailed in a thrilling first set versus Chris Diaz, 7-6 (7-4), and exerted himself in the second, 6-1, to earn the first team point for the Boilermakers. Kovcas’ win was his ninth straight, dating back to March 21, and the senior improved to 15-3 while playing his final home match.
“I’m really happy about winning my match because it was my last one here,” Kovacs said. “Plus I’ve never beaten Ohio State before. I really wanted to win.”
Diego Acosta’s second-set win via tiebreaker at No. 5 earned the second point for Purdue. Acosta registered his fourth consecutive win with a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) outing versus Steinbach. The junior from Cuenca, Ecuador, improved his mark to 13-4 with the win.
Pollanen closed the door on the Boilermakers’ comeback bid as the 74th-ranked Buckeye posted a 6-3, 6-3 decision of Medinilla in the No. 2 position. Dujovne’s victory, his first over a ranked opponent this season, ensued. The senior won his fourth straight match and pushed his record to 13-2 while playing in his final home match.
The Purdue men’s tennis team will conclude the regular season on the road playing at Michigan State in East Lansing on April 18 and in Ann Arbor against Michigan on April 20. First serves are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 12 p.m., respectively.
No. 1 Ohio State 4, No. 36 Purdue 3
1. Peter Kobelt/Ralf Steinbach (Ohio State) def. No. 74 Ricky Medinilla/Szymon Tatarczyk (Purdue), 8-1
2. Aaron Dujovne/Diego Acosta (Purdue) vs. Hunter Callahan/Chris Diaz (Ohio State), 5-5 (DNF)
3. Kevin Metka/Herkko Pollanen (Ohio State) def. Mark Kovacs/Mateus Silva (Purdue), 8-2
1. No. 9 Peter Kobelt (Ohio State) def. Szymon Tatarczyk (Purdue), 6-1, 6-1
2. No. 74 Herkko Pollanen (Ohio State) def. Ricky Medinilla (Purdue), 6-3, 6-3
3. Mark Kovacs (Purdue) def. Chris Diaz (Ohio State), 7-6 (7-4), 6-1
4. Aaron Dujovne (Purdue) def. No. 124 Kevin Metka (Ohio State), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5
5. Diego Acosta (Purdue) def. Ralf Steinbach (Ohio State), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
6. No. 109 Hunter Callahan (Ohio State) def. Mateus Silva (Purdue), 6-4, 6-0