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Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
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Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
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Ozan Baris breaks history and becomes the first Spartan to advance to the NCAA Semifinal

Ozan Baris breaks history and becomes the first Spartan to advance to the NCAA Semifinal

 

EAST LANSING- Michigan State tennis sophomore and Okemos native Ozan Baris made history, being the first Spartan to enter the NCAA Singles Championship semifinals after a strong 6-4, 6-1 win over Ohio State’s Jack Anthrop on Thursday. 

Baris took command of the match early, earning the first two breaks in the first and jumping out to a 3-1 lead. Anthrop would claim a couple of games back, but the No. 30 ranked player never led in the match. 

“I feel like from the start I had the hunger that I needed to and I started off really well. I got the break in the first game and just carried that through,” Baris said in a statement after the match on Thursday. 

“From my end I was in the mindset from the start. I thought I played well and I converted the way that I wanted to. I brought a lot of fights, I thought that was a separating factor for me today.”

To start the championship, Baris stacked up dominant wins in four days straight, dropping one set out of the nine played through the first four rounds of the tournament. 

In the first round on Monday, Baris took down Auburn’s Tyler Stice, 6-2, 6-4. 

Going down 4-6 in the first round on Tuesday, he went on to handle Stanford’s 55th ranked Samir Banerjee and win the match with 6-0 and 6-2 victories in Baris’s first round of the round of 32 appearance on Tuesday. 

During the next day, Baris controlled No. 13 Jack Pinnington of TCU, who was on a 12-game win streak, including the NCAA Team Championship that was won by the Horned Frogs on Sunday. 

“I think I’m just getting better as the tournament goes on honestly. The main emphasis has been starting off very strong and from the first point just wanting it badly,” Baris said.

“I have been able to do that in three of the matches. There’s been a very big emphasis on from the very first point competing to the best of my ability and I think that’s what has been able to get me through matches, comfortably at times too.”.

Baris has racked up a win streak of his own, the Big Ten Player of the Year has won eight straight and hasn’t lost a set in singles matches since March 10. 

On the season Baris is 32-6 and has secured All-American status for the second consecutive time being in collegiate tennis. 

Baris’s on-court coach, Assistant Coach Mike Flowers has influenced his success during the year and during this tournament as well. 

“It’s a testament to the work we’ve put in as a staff and the vision Harry [Jadun, MSU Head Coach] has had, “MSU Assistant Coach Mike Flowers said on Thursday.

“This and everything else the team has accomplished this season is just the beginning of something very special for Michigan State Men’s Tennis.” 

Baris will encounter the Alabama junior Filip Planinsek for a shot at the finals. Planinsek came into the postseason ranked No. 29 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Poll, with a 25-13 record on the season. 

On Jan. 28, Baris fell to Planinsek in a tiebreaker, 4-6, 7-5, (9-11), playing at the singles spot in a dual match between the Spartans and the Crimson Tide in East Lansing. 

The Friday semifinal match will be played at 11 a.m. EST streaming on ESPN+ and Track Tennis.

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About the Contributor
Derrick Mitchell
Derrick Mitchell, Sports Editorial Assistant
Derrick (he/him) is the Sports Editorial Assistant for Impact 89FM. He is a senior journalism student with a minor in sports journalism. He has covered MSU men's and women's basketball, football and baseball. Derrick's favorite artists are Drake, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Future and Yeat. His favorite song is Infinite by Eminem.

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