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The Harvard men's tennis team began it Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis Association (EITA) season Saturday at Palmer Dixon Tennis Courts with a decisive 6-1 win over Army. Army 1 Harvard 6
The Crimson (9-1, 1-0 EITA), coming off a successful weekend at the Corpus Christi Invitational Tournament, won all three doubles matches handily and--despite some last-minute line-up shuffling at singles--won five of the six singles matches.
"It was tough because we weren't used to playing indoors," junior Dan Chung said. "We played outdoors in Texas and after taking a couple of days off we started hitting indoors here only yesterday."
The Cadets didn't figure to pose much of a challenge to the more talented Crimson squad, which the doubles action certainly confirmed.
The first-doubles tandem of sophomore Mitty Arnold and freshman Black and the second-doubles team of juniors Todd Meringoff and Adam Valkin both were victorious in their respective matches 8-4
In third doubles action, Chung teamed up with sophomore Stuart Murray to walk all over the Cadets 8-1.
Following the doubles matches, coach Dave Fish scratched freshman Philip Tseng and Arnold from the singles line-up.
With captain Andrew Rueb already sitting out the match to rest his ailing knee, the Crimson entered the singles portion of the contest without its top three singles starters.
"They [Army] didn't look very good in doubles so the coach pulled a couple of guys out for singles," Chung said.
Even without its top guns, however, the Crimson held its own on the courts.
Chung opened the singles action with a 6-4, 6-2, win at third singles, dictating the action from the baseline throughout the match.
At fifth singles, freshman Jose Hernandez Ore, who was making his first varsity dual-match start, split the first two sets, 7-6, 4-6.
In the deciding set, however, Hernandez Ore was not to be stopped and amidst cheers of "Jose...Jose...Jose...Jose...Jose" he won 6-0.
"I've been training all fall to get used to the hard courts," said Hernandez Ore, who grew up playing on clay courts in Peru. "It's taken me two months but I'm really happy with the results."
The Crimson clinched the match in dramatic fashion at second singles with Blake's third-set tie-breaker win.
After getting off to a slow start and losing the first set 6-1, Blake took control of the net and won the second set 6-2. Blake and his Army opponent, Rick Michalski, traded service breaks late in the third set to even the stanza at 6-6.
Blake dominated the tie-breaker, however 7-1--earning him the win and securing the Crimson's victory.
Valkin added to the margin of victory with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, win at fourth singles. And the sixth singles, Murray, who was also making his first varsity singles start, put away his opponent 6-4, 7-5.
The only set-back for the Crimson came at first singles where Meringoff dropped a 6-1, 6-4, decision to Cadet Marco Coen.
"I had trouble finding my stroke," Meringoff said. "I was very disappointed in myself."
Despite the loss at first singles, the Crimson performance doesn't bode well for other EIWA opponents.
"We have a really deep team," Hernandez Ore said. "It doesn't matter if our top three guys don't play because we have really good players below that."
"We're pretty happy with our win," Murray said. "We have some big matches coming up so this gives us a bit of confidence."
The Crimson has a two-week layoff before it heads to California over Spring Break--a trip that will give Harvard a chance to test its mettle against the best teams in the country.
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