Chaudhuri Shines in Early-Season Tournament
When sophomore Shaun Chaudhuri won the final point to claim the singles A-draw championship for the Harvard men’s tennis team, the feeling must have been familiar. After all, only a few hours earlier, he had taken home another first-place trophy in doubles.
The two tournament victories concluded a weekend full of personal bests for Chaudhuri at the Harvard Halloween Classic. In three days, the sophomore won eight matches, lost none, and did not drop a single set.
“Every match went my way, and I was able to pull out the matches in tight situations,” Chaudhuri said. “I don’t think I’ve won four singles and four doubles in the same weekend in a while, so it was a pretty good weekend overall.”
Seeded No. 2 in the singles draw, Chaudhuri decisively defeated every one of his opponents, winning each set by a score of 6-2 or 6-4. Chaudhuri paired up with sophomore Henry Steer in the doubles draw, and the team emerged victorious with its closest match ending in an 8-5 score.
The weekend marked Chaudhuri’s only two collegiate tournament wins.
“I thought Shaun played very well,” sophomore teammate Denis Nguyen said. “If you win either the singles or the doubles, it means you had a very good weekend. I’m proud of him for playing out the weekend with a winning record.”
Chaudhuri quickly advanced through the first two rounds of the singles draw to set up a semifinal match with Harvard sophomore Alex Steinroeder. Both opponents were very familiar with each other—in addition to being teammates, Chaudhuri and Steinroeder are also roommates.
“It’s always tough to play one of your teammates, especially since one of them is also your roommate,” Chaudhuri said. “But it’s a situation which any coach would love, having all four semifinalists be from Harvard. It’s bittersweet that we’re all doing so well but in the end only one of us can pull through.”
After defeating Steinroeder, Chaudhuri faced off against freshman Kelvin Lam, who had just captured a back-and-forth win against Crimson co-captain and top-seeded Andy Nguyen.
Chaudhuri jumped out to an early lead and took the first set against Lam. Although Lam managed to break serve against Chaudhuri early in the second set, the sophomore bounced right back and broke Lam twice to secure a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
Harvard dominated its competition in the singles A draw.
The four Crimson players who reached the semifinals were the only Harvard representatives in the bracket, and they only dropped a total of one set on their collective path to the semifinals.
“It was a great weekend for our team in general,” Chaudhuri said. “A couple players were returning from injuries, and it was a good tournament for everyone to get back and see where they are since the start of the season. The fall season is good practice for the spring, so it was a great tournament to shake out the cobwebs.”
The tournament marked the first time this year Chaudhuri and Steer have played as a doubles pair. The duo clicked from the start and defeated opponents from MIT, Amherst, and Army to win the title Sunday morning.
Prior to this weekend, Chaudhuri had posted a 2-2 record in singles on the year. Both of his losses came in three sets in tournaments in Napa Valley, Calif., and New Haven, Conn.
Chaudhuri was also successful in his freshman campaign. Last year, Chaudhuri earned 30 wins, the most of any Harvard player, and posted a sparkling 23-3 record in dual match play.
“[Last year] went pretty well for everyone on the team, and we trained really hard,” Chaudhuri said. “So I think the momentum kind of carried through the summer and into the fall season. This weekend was really a culmination of all the hard work we put in last year and the start of this year.”
The Crimson will participate in its final fall tournament at the Tribe Invite, which begins on Nov. 9 in Williamsburg, Va. Chaudhuri and the rest of the team say their goal is to finish the fall season on a positive note before winter training begins.
“I think everyone just wants to focus on each match and just getting more practice and getting stronger every match,” Chaudhuri said. “[The Tribe Invite] will be a good way to end our fall season.”