Michigan State’s Baris collects first professional singles title, wins Capital City Tennis Classic
First pro singles title for MSU sophomore.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan State sophomore tennis player Ozan Baris has already accomplished plenty in his collegiate career in East Lansing. The Okemos native and his junior doubles partner Max Sheldon recently concluded MSU’s fall season with the program’s first ever national title at the ITA Fall National Championships on Nov. 5.
Since then, Sheldon and Baris stayed in the No. 2 national spot in doubles, remaining the highest ranked Spartan duo in Michigan State history.
In singles, Baris, previously ranked 25th, became the highest ranked singles player in MSU history at No. 6 after winning the highly-regarded Battle in the Bay title and battling to a semifinal appearance at the ITA All-American Championships.
But in the professional ranks, Baris is starting to gain momentum.
Baris has already collected three professional doubles titles and broke through in singles Sunday at the Michigan State Indoor Tennis Facility, knocking off childhood pal Sameer Banerjee, a sophomore from Stanford, 6-2, 6-1 to take home his first title in front of his hometown fans.
“Honestly this one meant a lot for me. I feel like a lot of things just came together this week for me,” Baris, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year said. “I was battling a lot of a lot of demons in my mind and a lot of tough situations just internally and I was able to pull it off and have a great week and play some really high level matches the past few days. It means a ton to me because I know that it’s a start of something bigger.”
Baris had to work for every match in the tournament, finding ways to knock off the top player in both Division 1 tennis and NAIA tennis and hopes his results from the past two months, especially the past week, can continue serving as building blocks.
“I think once you do something once, it becomes easier,” Baris said. “I’ve won a professional title now and in the future it’s something I can kinda just re-live and recreate and it will just be easier and easier.”
Baris’ work on the court and results are something that head coach Harry Jadun sees as the least bit surprising with the year he’s already had. Wins like these are also win-wins for the Michigan State men’s tennis program.
“For him to do it in the backyard where he grew up, the facility he came to as a kid, a pretty cool moment,” Jadun said. “Just like any sport at the collegiate level. you wanna be a training ground for the professionals. This just allows us to recruit a different caliber player and hopefully keep producing professionals that have success.”
Jadun’s Spartans will now continue to prepare for the start of the collegiate spring season on Jan. 19.
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