Harvard's chances of landing an All-American tennis berth for 1978 were quashed last Friday when senior captain Todd Lundy lost his opening round singles match at the NCAA championships in Athens, Ga., to SMU's Harron Ismaiol, Stanford had earlier defeated UCLA for the team championship, while Stanford's John McEnroe garnered the singles title Monday and UCLA's John Austin and Bruce Nichols won the doubles crown.
Playing in humid, mid-90's weather Friday morning, Lundy played well in the first set of his match with Ismaiol, but then fell victim to the Pakistani's steady game, losing 6-4, 6-1.
"He was match tough but I wasn't," Lundy said after returning this weekend. "There were a lot of points where I'd get the shot I wanted and then make an error."
Ismaiol blew the Harvard racquetman off the court in the opening games, charging off to a 4-1 lead before Lundy ever got into the match. Then Lundy "zoned," coming alive to play three of his best games of the year to even it at 4-all.
But Ismaiol then set the tone for the rest of the match by breaking Lundy's service to put away the set, 6-4. The SMU player then cruised home in the second set, yielding just one game.
The slow-speed, hard-surface courts worked to Ismaiol's advantage throughout the contest. An exceedingly quick athlete, Ismaiol plays a very steady game, making virtually no errors and keeping the ball in play.
Lundy, who usually plays with a steady style himself, was forced to play an aggressive game in hopes of cracking the Pakistani's airtight style. But Lundy was not on top of his game, and he found himself making too many errors to stay in a match against a player like Ismaiol.
"I just never got a good attack game going," Lunday said.
Ismaiol fell out of the 64-man singles draw in the second round when he lost a tough three-setter to Trinity's Eric Iskerski, 6-4, in the final set. Iskerski, the ninth seed, made it to the quarterfinal round of the tourney before losing.
Stanford's McEnroe, a freshman ranked in the top 15 of the world, had more than his share of close shaves in the tournament, but the closest came in Monday's final. Playing in stifling heat, McEnroe gutted out three tie-breaker wins to defeat North Carolina State's red hot player, John Sadri, in four sets.
McEnroe put Sadri back against the wall by taking 7-6 decisions in the first two sets, but the North Carolinian picked up one service break to polish off the third set, 7-5, and pull within a set of McEnroe.
But McEnroe, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last summer, picked up the crown by winning an incredible third tiebreaker set, 7-6.
Teamed with Harvard junior Andy Chaikovsky, Lundy had also competed in the doubles competition, losing to South Carolina's Chris Mayotte and Art Anastoupolo, 7-6, 6-3, in the opening round last Thursday.
Mayotte and Anastoupolo went on to reach the quarterfinal round of the championship, thereby earning All-American status for 1978.
The season has not yet finished for Harvard tennis, however. Lundy, freshman Don Pompan and junior Scott Walker will represent Harvard in the Prentice Cup competition in England this summer. Three players from Yale will join the Crimson racquetmen on the seven-week, all-expenses-paid trip.