Halfway through sophomore Denis Nguyen’s singles match against Boston College’s Johnathan Raude, the Eagles’ No. 1 singles player hit a ball just long that won the game for Nguyen.
“Whoa, out?” said Raude, approaching the net. “There’s no way that was out.”
Unfazed, Nguyen responded, “Way out….If it was in, I would’ve run it down.”
This calm confidence carried the Harvard men’s tennis team through the weekend as the Crimson kicked off its spring season by hosting Marist and local foe Boston College in the Harvard Winter Invite.
The No. 28 Crimson started off the season in strong fashion with resounding victories throughout the weekend. The Eagles and Red Foxes didn’t have an answer for Harvard as the home squad won eight of its nine doubles matches and 18 of its 20 singles matches.
Several times throughout the weekend, the visitors’ frustration was evident in their body language, yells, and exclamations after missed opportunities.
“I think they came here trying to prove something,” Nguyen said. “We were high-ranking last year, so I guess they were trying their best to beat us which was good because it brought out the best competition in us. I just think our players were a little bit more confident going in to it.”
Play for the Crimson was strong across the board, with five of Harvard’s eight players winning all of their singles and doubles matches over the tournament.
“I think everyone on our team did really well in both singles and doubles,” Chaudhuri said, “It’s hard to pinpoint individuals but overall everyone played great.”
Denis Nguyen continued his impressive play from the fall season and helped solidify his first singles position with three wins over the weekend, including a 6-4, 6-0 win over teammate Shaun Chaudhuri to win the title on Sunday.
“The top guys played really well,” freshman Conor Haughey said. “Especially Denis and Shaun, who played each other in the finals. They played really well.”
Chaudhuri had a similarly notable weekend, beating out Boston College’s Johnathan Raude, 6-1, 6-1 and Phillip Nelson, 6-2, 6-1 before losing to teammate Nguyen. Chaudhuri used exact ball placement and shot selection to overwhelm his Eagles opponents. Playing doubles with freshman Nicky Hu, the tandem beat Boston College’s Nelson and Michael McGinnis, 8-2, on Friday and Marist’s Trym Nagelstad and Will Reznek, 8-4, on Saturday.
Sophomore Alex Steinroeder and freshman Nicholas Mahlangu won the doubles title of the invite, with an 8-5 win over teammates Nguyen and junior co-captain Casey MacMaster on Saturday. They had beaten the Eagles’ Johnathan Raude and Matt Wagner, 8-2, earlier in the day to set up the match-up against their teammates.
“Everyone from top to bottom showed up in practice ready to compete,” Chaudhuri said. “They performed really well in both singles and doubles.”
Hu and MacMaster, playing fourth and fifth singles, respectively, won every match that they played this weekend against opponents from Boston College and the Red Foxes. MacMaster did not drop a single set.