Chaudhuri Impresses at Harvard Halloween Classic
In its penultimate tournament of the semester, the Harvard men’s tennis team swept the singles A draw at the Harvard Halloween Classic. Sophomore Shaun Chaudhuri led the team with a victory over Crimson freshman Kelvin Lam in the finals.
The semifinals featured four Harvard players in total, with co-captain Andy Nguyen and sophomore Alex Steinroeder bowing out to Lam and Chaudhuri, respectively.
Chaudhuri teamed up with sophomore Henry Steer to win the doubles B draw, scoring an 8-4 win in the finals over the team from Army University.
In the doubles A draw, Lam and partner sophomore Denis Nguyen won the tournament after a 9-8 (7-2) triumph over Lucas Da Silveira and Justin To from Brown.
Lam and Nguyen saved a match point at 7-8 after Lam fought off three Brown lobs and put away a smash past the diving Da Silveira.
“I think everyone played well this weekend,” coach Dave Fish ’72 said. “[Sophomore] Brendan Seaver had a good win that was as big as he has had since he got here. Alex and Henry are coming back from injuries and it was great to see them playing again.”
In the final, Chaudhuri quickly went up 4-0 against Lam, who committed six backhand errors in a stretch of seven points.
Chaudhuri served out the set, but was broken early in the second as Lam took a quick 2-0 lead.
But Chaudhuri broke Lam twice in succession and regained a 3-2 lead that he served out to take the second set, 6-4. Lam went two for nine on break points in the match.
Andy Nguyen, who was seeded first in the A draw, fell to Lam, 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 2-6, in the semifinals after taking a set and leading 2-1 in the second. Lam broke Nguyen late in the second and in the third set took an early lead with two early breaks.
Nguyen had a three-set singles victory earlier in the day, and Fish said the amount of play was unusual for a college match, where players are usually expected to just play one doubles match and one singles match. Nguyen played a combined four matches on the day, splitting both his singles and doubles matches.
“In college matches, you usually don’t have to play six sets and that’s up to five, six hours of tennis,” Fish explained. “The guy he beat in the first round from Amherst [Mark Kahan], beat our number one last year [Jonathan Pearlman] and that’s a good win for Andy.”
Nguyen is one of two upperclassmen on the team, along with junior Casey MacMaster.
On a squad that is very young, Fish said that Nguyen has really stepped forward to help lead the team.
“Our two co-captains are doing a great job this year,” Fish said. “Seniors have a lot on their minds during the fall semester, and he hasn’t only been saying the right things, he’s been backing it up with his play on the court. He’s added to his game every year, and he’s a real formidable opponent out there.”
Denis Nguyen, who won two matches with Lam at the ITA Northeast Regionals tournament two weeks ago, said that the doubles team came out strong from the beginning of the tournament and stayed focused throughout.
“We were able to keep our energy up throughout the tournament,” Nguyen said. “We took every match with a very professional attitude and competed well from the start. We’re both really small, but we’re really quick with really good hands and we are able to use that to your advantage.”
The team has one tournament left, which takes place at William and Mary on Nov. 9-11, before breaking until spring semester.
As the Crimson won the Ivy League championships last year, Nguyen said that Harvard will have a target on its back come league play.
“In the fall, we are trying to get in a lot of matches and build up some confidence,” Nguyen said. “We are trying to get ready for the spring season, and a lot of teams are going to be gunning for us since we won it all last year. We have to be prepared for that moving forward.”