Baris Becomes First Spartan to Reach NCAA Semifinal - Michigan State University Athletics (2024)

Men's Tennis

STILLWATER, Okla. – MSU sophom*ore Ozan Baris, a native of Okemos, Mich., is the first Spartan to ever earn entry to the NCAA Singles Championships semifinals after a commanding 6-4, 6-1 win over Ohio State's Jack Anthrop on Thursday.

Baris, the No. 8 seed in the 64-player championships, took control of the match early, earning the first two breaks in the first set and bouncing out to a 3-1 lead. Anthrop would claim a few games back, but the national No. 30 never led in the match.

The Big Ten Player of the Year won the first set over the OSU redshirt-sophom*ore 6-4 and like in the first set, broke Anthrop on his first two serving games of the second set, eventually winning the second set 6-1.

Baris has stacked dominant wins in four straight days now, dropping just one set out of nine played through the first four rounds of the tournament. After going down 4-6 in the first set Tuesday, he went on to handle Stanford's 55th-ranked Samir Banerjee and win the match with 6-0, 6-2 set victories in his first round of 32 appearance on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he controlled No. 13 Jack Pinnington of TCU, who had won 12 straight, including in the NCAA Team Championship title run that ended in success for the Horned Frogs Sunday. In the first round Monday, Baris knocked off Auburn's 31st-ranked Tyler Stice, 6-2, 6-4.

Baris is on a win streak of his own, he's now won eight straight and hasn't dropped a match in singles since March 10. He's 32-6 on the season and already secured All-American status for the second time in as many seasons in collegiate tennis with Tuesday's victory.

The true sophom*ore will meet Alabama junior Filip Planinsek for a shot at the finals. Planinsek entered the postseason ranked No. 29 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, now 25-13 on the season. En route to the final four the Slovenian has handily beaten Jonas Hartenstein (UNF, 6-2, 6-1), No. 17 Cannon Kingsley (OSU, 7-6, 6-3), No. 5 Micah Braswell (Texas, 6-4, 6-4) and on Thursday, No. 15 Cooper Williams (Harvard, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4).

Baris fell in a tiebreaker, 4-6, 7-5, [9-11], to Planinsek playing at the No. 1 singles spot in a dual match between the Spartans and Crimson tide in East Lansing, Mich. 481 days ago on Jan. 28, 2023.

The semifinal will be played at 11 a.m. ET, streamed on ESPN+ with a subscription and on Track Tennis for free without commentary. Links and additional coverage can be found on MSUSpartans.com.

The winner of the NCAA Championships for singles, if American, earns main draw entry to this summer's US Open senior tournament.

Sophom*ore Ozan Baris
"I feel like from the start I had the hunger that I needed to and I started of really well. I got the break the first game and just carried that through. 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 fight, I thought that was a separating factor for me today."

On his control throughout the tournament…
"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. 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."

On being the first Spartan to ever reach a semifinal…
"It doesn't mean much to me right now, the tournaments not over. We'll talk about that when I win the whole thing. Semifinals is nice, but nothing's the same as winning the whole thing."

Assistant Coach Mike Flowers
Assistant coach Mike Flowers, the on-court coach for Baris in Stillwater this week, has coached Ozan since he was a nine-year-old at Court One Athletics Club in Okemos, Mich. and through ITF junior levels, joining the Michigan State coaching staff the same summer that Baris joined the team as a freshman in 2022.

"It was a super clean match from start to finish. He was committed to a game plan that was going to put him in a position to win and he didn't stray from it. Good on him, he kept his head on his shoulders and played very disciplined and structured tennis."

On Baris being the first Spartan to ever reach a semifinal…
"It's a testament to the work we've put in as a staff and the vision Harry [Jadun, MSU Head Coach] has had. This and everything else the team has accomplished this season is just the beginning of something very special for Michigan State Men's Tennis."

Results
#8 Ozan Baris (Michigan State) def. #26 Jack Anthrop (OSU), 6-4, 6-1

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Players Mentioned

Ozan Baris

6' 1"
Freshman

Players Mentioned

Ozan Baris

6' 1"
Freshman
Baris Becomes First Spartan to Reach NCAA Semifinal - Michigan State University Athletics (2024)
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