The Crimson men's varsity tennis team yesterday whitewashed the University of Richmond 9-0 at the Palmer Dixon courts, in its opening match.
Harvard's first-ranked Howard Sands outclassed John De Pew 7-5, 6-2, despite a recent chest injury. Sands' aggressiveness and accuracy forced De Pew onto the defensive. He scored repeatedly by hitting deep approach drives into the corners, charging the net and volleying the ball out of De Pew's reach.
De Pew, although considerably taller than Sands, failed to control the game from the net. Sands' passing shots and drives aimed at his feet thwarted his early shots. "He's a smart player," said an exhausted De Pew.
Harvard captain Don Pompan beat Drew Robinson 6-3, 6-4 in a fast-paced match. Both played an aggressive, serve-and-volley style, but Pompan's strokes, especially his first serve, were consistent.
In a match lasting less than an hour, Harvard's Paul Lennon breezed by Phil Rieckert 6-0, 6-2, Rieckert failed to return many of Lennon's serves and "never really got started," Lennon said.
In another quick match, Adam Beren frustrated Kevin McClure 6-0, 6-1, McClure had a powerful first serve, but often failed to land it in the service box.
In other singles matches, Warren Grossman swept Chris Higgins 6-1, 6-0 and Alex Seaver hit passing shots down the line to frustrate Richmond's Steve Parsons 6-3, 6-4.
In doubles, Sands and Mike Terner displayed fine teamwork at the net, defeating De Pew and Robinson 6-3, 6-1. Beren and Robert Wheeler dispensed with Parsons and Rickert 6-2, 6-1 and Pompan and Grossman handled McClure and Higgins 6-1, 7-6.
Coach Dave Fish did not expect yesterday's match to be very challenging, calling it "a good warm-up."
This year looks promising for Harvard to capture the Eastern division championship. Fish predicted before the game, adding that the team has been practicing hard all winter and has improved substantially. Last year, the Crimson finished second behind Princeton.
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