Harvard Coasts Past Quinnipiac To Open NCAAs

No. 16 seed Crimson

Saturday’s two first-round matches of the NCAA men’s tennis tournament—held at Harvard’s Beren Tennis Center—were the same and different all at once. While No. 19 Tulane battled for a deceptively difficult 4-0 victory over No. 30 Notre Dame, the No. 21 Crimson squad absolutely demolished Quinnipiac 4-0 in less than two hours time.

“[Quinnipiac is] a younger team,” said Crimson sophomore Brandon Chiu said after the victory, “and they don’t really get to play against top-ranked teams, so this is, I guess, a new experience for them.”

And it showed.

The Bobcats (12-5, 8-0 Northeast) started three freshmen and two sophomores in the six-man singles lineup as well as four freshman and a sophomore in the three doubles pairs. And Quinnipiac lost—or was on pace to lose—every single match.

The doubles competition lasted less than 40 minutes, and for the first several minutes, not one of the three Harvard pairs dropped even a point.

And while the Bobcats eventually took a point here, a point there—and even a game here, a game there—the Crimson (18-6, 7-0 Ivy) never relinquished control of the match.

With aggressive net-play and sound teamwork, the senior duo of Mark Riddell and co-captain David Lingman were first to finish with an 8-1 drubbing in the second doubles position.

The third pairing of senior Chris Chiou and junior Martin Wetzel was next to win, posting an 8-2 victory and clinching the doubles point.

Play was then suspended in the top doubles match, which Chiu and junior Jonathan Chu led 5-2.

There was little drama in the air at the start of singles competition, and the Harvard team seemed to take few false steps. In fact, the Crimson won all six first sets—six sets in which Quinnipiac had only managed to garner a collective six games.

Wetzel was first off the courts. The animated junior wasted little time winning the fifth singles match in decisive 6-0, 6-1 fashion, upping his win streak to five matches with another strong showing after an extended injury layoff.

Chu was next to finish, capping off a 6-1, 6-1 victory with a thundering serve.

Harvard now held a 3-0 dual match advantage, and the only thing remotely suspenseful remaining was the question of which Crimson player would take home the fourth and decisive match.

On court four, co-captain Cliff Nguyen held a 5-0 second set advantage, while on court six, freshman Jack Li was up 5-1.

The two raced all the way to the finish, but it was Nguyen who sealed a 6-2, 6-0 win and a Harvard first-round victory. Li’s match was suspended at 6-1, 5-1.

Also unfinished were the matches of Lingman—suspended at 6-0, 2-3—and Riddell—suspended at 6-2, 3-1.