M. Tennis Shows off Depth at Harvard Invitational
Crimson win three of four titles at tourney
Fielding a young team that included eight freshmen and six sophomores, the Crimson showed depth and maturity, dominating the tournament to win three of the four titles.
Teams from Brown, Dartmouth, Nebraska, Iowa, Rutgers, Boston College and MIT were in attendance, but the Crimson would not prove to be the most gracious of hosts when it came to results.
A surprising freshman Johnathan Chu led the Crimson and the rest of the field, sweeping both the singles and the doubles draws in his first ever Division I event.
Three of the four semifinalists in the in the 29-man A flight singles draw were Crimson players. Co-captain William Lee, sophomore Cliff Nguyen and Chu all reached the final four. Sophomore Mark Riddell reached the quarterfinals but fell to Nguyen, 5-7, 7-6, 6-2. Top seed Nick Malone, a senior from Brown, Brown was only non-Harvard player to reach the semis.
Chu defeated Nguyen quickly, 6-4, 6-0 and met Malone in the A flight singles final after he defeated Lee 6-7, 6-2, 6-1 in his semifinal match.
Chu approached his match against the top seeded senior as a relaxed underdog.
Its fun with me as a freshman playing a senior in the finals, Chu said. Really Im just trying to make the team.
Yet with a sound 7-5, 7-5 victory over Malone, Chu seems to have little to worry about. His teammates agree that Chu is tough to beat right now.
[Chu] is playing very mature, said co-captain Dalibor Snyder. He came out strongly, and well prepared. He played all the big points well [in the final]
Other Crimson players faired well in the two singles draws. Sophomore George Turner won against the No. 4 seed, Nebraskas Lance Mill, winning in a single-game match tiebreaker, 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (8) in the second round of the A flight singles consolation.
Freshman Brent Saiontz outdueled Crimson classmate Andy Rabens in the finals of the B singles consolation 7-5, 6-2.
Iowas Jake Wilson took the B flight singles title, besting Browns Adil Shamasdin in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.
With their strong showing this weekend, the team is very confident as they split the squad and head out on the road next weekend to the Brown and Notre Dame Invitationals,
Notre Dame defeated Harvard soundly last year in the first round of the NCAA tounament.
This weekend will get us seasoned for up coming events, Nguyen said. It will be great to get a rematch against Notre Dame after last year.
In the doubles draws, the Crimson successfully came away with both the A and B flight titles. The unseeded team of Chu and junior Oli Choo upset the No. 2 seed team of Lee and Riddell in the A flight doubles final, 8-3.
Meanwhile, Snyder and Rabens took the B flight doubles title over J.R. Argo and Chris Goddard of Brown, 8-4.
Chu credits the hard preseason work of Head Coach David Fish 72 and the Crimson players for the teams early success.
Coach Fish worked us hard during preseason on conditioning and footwork drills, making us practice things we were not comfortable with, Chu said. We were well prepared. Our team is very self-motivated and pushed each other all the time, motivating each other.
The mens tennis will return to the Beren
Tennis Center on October 5 when Harvard plays host to the ECAC Fall Championships.