The Harvard men’s tennis team opened its dual match season in winning fashion this weekend at the Harvard Kick Off Invitational, defeating Denver on Friday and besting Drake and DePaul Saturday at the Murr Tennis Center.
The Crimson (3-0) opened the weekend by shutting out Denver (4-1) on Friday, going 2-0 in doubles and 3-0 in singles.
The No. 70 Harvard team continued its winning streak on Saturday, defeating Drake (2-1), 4-1, in the morning and then toppling No. 68 DePaul (5-2), 4-0.
Crimson coach Dave Fish ’72 has a history of winning the season opener in his 34 years of coaching men’s tennis at Harvard. This weekend’s victory against Denver marked Fish’s 30th win in season openers.
Harvard started the invitational with doubles play against the Denver Pioneers, who were playing without their leading scorer, Eneg Bonin, who was recovering from a wrist injury.
But the Pioneers were not the only squad battling injury. Harvard junior Andy Nguyen—who is currently 4-4 in singles play this season—was forced to sit out much of the weekend's action with a sprained ankle he sustained on Wednesday.
“It just couldn’t have been worse timing,” Fish said. “But we sort of taken an attitude like the [New England] Patriots: when one guy goes down you got to have another guy ready to go in there.”
With Crimson players on the mend, some underclassmen had the opportunity to gain court experience.
Freshmen Henry Steer and Alexander Steinroeder moved up in the lineup to take part in doubles play this weekend.
“Steer has been having more and more success in doubles,” Fish said. “He is potentially a very fine doubles player, but, up until this point, he hasn’t had a lot of experience in it.”
The 45th-ranked duo of sophomore Casey MacMaster and co-captain Alistair Felton trumped the Pioneers’ Jens Vorkefeld and Othar Kordschia, 8-4. Senior Jonathan Pearlman and sophomore Christo Schultz added another notch to the doubles score, defeating Denver pair Yannick Weihs and Alex Clinkenbeard, 9-8.
After gaining the doubles point, Harvard swept singles play against the Pioneers. Freshman Shaun Chaudhuri handily defeated Clinkenbeard, 6-2, 6-4.
Steinroeder and Shultz logged two more points for the Crimson, giving Harvard a decisive 4-0 win over Denver.
Later that evening, Harvard continued its run of success in doubles play against Drake.
“I would say that Drake was the strongest team we faced all weekend,” Fish said.