Tennis: Rola’s tournament hopes revived but shot down
It was a whirlwind day for former Ohio State tennis player Blaz Rola. After falling in Sunday’s qualifier at ther Western and Southern Open, he was brought back to the tournament Tuesday after a withdraw in the first round.
Rola nearly made a case to stick around in the tournament as he took France’s Julien Benneteau to a third-set tiebreak. After 2 hours and 38 minutes of play, it was Benneteau taking the third set tiebreak 9-7.
Rola took the first set in a tiebreak in an evenly-matched set. Benneteau easily took the second set 6-3 to level the match.
In the third set, Benneteau broke Rola’s serve to tie the set at three. With Benneteau up 5-4 and 40-30, Rola broke Benneteau’s match point to keep the contest alive. Rola would go on to win the game and put the match back on serve.
After Rola and Benneteau alternated service wins, Rola took the first two points of the tiebreak to go up 2-0. Benneteau battled back as Rola won an incredible point at five all to give Rola an opportunity to win the match on serve but Benneteau took the point.
Rola, 23, has qualified for two of the three Grand Slams this year. He won a match in both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
He also has a win at the Challenge Tour’s stop in Guangzhou, China.
Rola won a NCAA double title in 2012 with Chase Buchanan who also qualified for the Open. Buchanan lost during yesterday’s first round.
Ohio native falls in first round
Things looked bright for Cincinnati’s Nicole Gibbs who won her first set 6-4 but lost to wild card contestant Christina McHale 6-3 in the second and 6-1 in the third and deciding set.
Gibbs, a former member of Stanford’s tennis team, has participated in two Grand Slams in singles, losing both of her matches.
Coming into the Western and Southern Open, she was a finalist in the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championship, an event for up-and-coming tennis players.