The Columbus Challenger is taking place at the Ohio State University this week. As I’ve explained before, the Columbus Challenger series is an excellent opportunity, both for American tennis players in general, Ohio State’s tennis program, and tennis fans around Columbus.
Ohio State hosts multiple Challenger Tour events throughout the year. The Challenger Tour is the second-highest professional men’s tennis tour, right below the ATP World Tour. Challenger tournaments are usually filled by players ranked from 100-400 in the world. Ohio State uses the Challengers in Columbus to increase fan interest, to help with recruiting, and to give current (and former) Buckeyes the chance to compete against some of the best in the world.
Four current members of the Men’s Tennis team were given entry to the Challenger. Unfortunately for them, none managed to advance to the second round this time. However, all of them performed admirably against some of the top opponents–certainly a higher-caliber opponent than you’ll see in most college matchups.
John McNally, likely the most pro-ready Buckeye, took World No. 275 Roberto Quiroz to two tiebreaks. However, the Cincinnati couldn’t win either of them, so he lost 7-6 7-6. Freshman phenom Cannon Kingsley also took Lloyd Glasspool to a first-set tiebreak, but Kingsley lost the tiebreak and the second set as well. Redshirt freshman Andrew Lutschaunig was given a qualifying spot, and he had to take on World No. 208 Zhe Li. Lutschaunig was also able to force a first-set tiebreak, but he lost it and the second set as well. This morning, Justin Boulais fell to World No. 270 Guilherme Clezar in straight sets as well.
So while current Buckeyes might not have won a single set against their four opponents, they all played tough and impressed against top-caliber competition. They might not have earned any ranking points and I’m sure all would have loved to have advanced, but this is a great experience and they played really well.
Former Buckeyes J.J. Wolf and Mikael Torpegaard–each former champions of Columbus Challengers–received first-round byes and are still in the tournament. Wolf begins his tournament today (Tuesday) against World No. 273 James Ward, while Torpegaard begins tomorrow.