WINSTON-SALEM — Wake Forest started the season as the No. 1 men’s tennis team in the nation. Tuesday, the Deacons ended the season the same way.
Making the most of their homecourt advantage, they defeated No. 3 Ohio State 4-2 to win the first national championship in program history at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.
Freshman Bar Botzer rallied from 5-2 down in the second set at No. 4 singles to win the final five games of his match to clinch the title for the Deacons. It is the ninth team national championship in school history, joining baseball in 1955, men’s golf in 1974, ‘75 and ‘86, field hockey in 2002, ‘03 and ‘04, and men’s soccer in 2007.
Wake (31-2) got the final off to a strong start with doubles victories from the teams of Borja Gojo and Skander Mansouri, and Petros Chrysochos and Botzer to earn the opening point of the match for the sixth straight time in NCAA tournament play.
The Deacons and Buckeyes split the first four singles matches completed, with Chrysochos beating Ohio State’s J.J. Wolf 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2 and Mansouri downing John McNally 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3 for the two Wake wins, leaving the outcome hinging on the final two pairings.
As Gojo prepared for a tiebreaker looking to extend his match against the Buckeyes’ Mikael Torpegaard at No. 1 to a decisive third set, Botzer — a native of Israel — roared from behind to beat Tim Seibert 6-4, 7-5 to give the Deacons their 16th straight victory and the national title.
Individually, Gojo was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament while Chrysochos was named to the singles All-Tournament Team and the duos of Gojo/Mansouri and Botzer/Chrysochos were named to the doubles All-Tournament Team.
Singles play in the individual portion of the NCAA Championships is scheduled to start today, with the singles bracket with the doubles competition set for Thursday. Chrysochos, Mansouri, and Gojo will represent Wake in singles while Botzer/Chrysochos and will play in doubles.