Harvard sophomore Jonathan Chu tore through the opening rounds of the ITA All-American championships this weekend in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Only a torn stomach muscle stopped Harvard’s tennis player from advancing further.
Chu, ranked No. 47 nationally, took on No. 62-ranked Whi Kim from the University of Arizona in the first round Thursday. They split the first two sets before Kim nearly broke Chu late in the third. The sophomore was able to stave off the break points, then break himself and take the match 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
On Friday, in the round of 32, Chu was up against Mississippi’s Alex Hartman, seeded No. 13 in the main draw. After losing a tight first set 7-5, Chu ran through Hartman 6-3 in the second.
Both players pushed each other to the maximum, which is where the final set went. In the tiebreaker, Chu narrowly pulled off the upset 7-5 for a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory for one of the biggest wins of his career.
Later that afternoon, Chu faced an even stronger opponent, No. 4 seed Amer Delic of Illinois. There would be no upset this time, unfortunately. Chu tore a stomach muscle in the match and could never mount a serious challenge against Delic, who won 6-2, 6-3.
Delic went on to finish as the runner-up in the tournament, the first of the ITA’s three national championships.
Chu, despite the injury, advanced further than any Harvard player at the All-Americans since James Blake ’02 won the event in 1998.
Senior David Lingman also competed in the main draw of the All-Americans.
Still feeling the lingering effects of an earlier sickness, Lingman faced a familiar opponent in the first round—No. 26-ranked Zoltan Papp of Baylor. The pair squared off in a highly competitive match last spring when Baylor took on the Crimson in the second round of the NCAA tournament. In May, Papp had been leading before the match was suspended, and he finished the job on Thursday, beating Lingman 6-4, 6-2.
Lingman’s tournament run ended for good with a consolation-round loss to No. 16 seed Brian Wilson 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Chu’s injury also forced Harvard’s sole doubles entry—the team of Chu and senior Oli Choo—to withdraw from the quarterfinals of the backdraw.
—Staff writer Rahul Rohatgi can be reached at email@example.com.