M. Tennis Cruises vs. Lions, Red in Ivy Openers

The Harvard men's tennis team began its annual domination of the Ivy League with two sound victories this weekend at the Murr Center. COLUMBIA  1 HARVARD  6 CORNELL  0 HARVARD  7

The Crimson (15-4, 2-0 Ivy) defeated Columbia (11-4, 1-1) 6-1 on Friday and returned the next day to blank Cornell (9-6, 0-2), 7-0.

The two victories bode well for the Crimson's Ivy League season.

"Columbia is always a legitimate threat," Assistant Coach Peter Mandeau said. "Any time we get a win over Columbia, we know we are doing our homework and paying attention to detail."

Because the Beren Tennis Center is undergoing renovation, Harvard faced both Ivy foes at its new indoor facility in the Murr Center. The team is now 4-0 at the Murr, having defeated No. 26 Kentucky and No. 12 Tennessee at the Crimson Challenge in February.


Columbia came into Friday's match on a three game winning steak, including a 7-0 thrashing of Cornell in its own Ivy League opener. Unfortunately for the Lions, Harvard did not roll over like the Big Red.

Harvard first found its stride in doubles, an area that has provided some frustration in recent tournament play.

In response to a string of losses, Harvard chose to rearrange its pairings for last weekend's Pepperdine match, and the changes sparked great results. The Crimson swept the doubles matches and defeated No. 17 Pepperdine, 4-3.

The Crimson continued with the new look against the Lions and swept the doubles point, taking all three matches.

The new duo of co-captain Mike Pas-sarella and sophomore Andrew Styperek began the doubles sweep with an 8-2 win at No. 3.

The Crimson's No. 1 pair of sophomore James Blake and co-captain Kunj Majmudar, currently ranked No. 2 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, next defeated the Lion's top team, 8-3. Blake and Majmudar are the only pair that has played together the entire season.

At No. 2, the second new pairing of junior Joe Green and sophomore Scott Clark began sluggishly, dropping three straight breaks to fall behind 1-6. only two games from defeat, Green and Pas-sarella found their focus and rattled off seven straight games to win 8-6 and complete the sweep.

"Green and Clark have had a couple of excellent outings," Mandeau said. "It does take some time to get together as a combination, but they look very good as of now."

The Crimson continued to dominate in the singles portion of the dual meet.

Having lost to the Lions' top singles player, Steve Millerman, in last year's meeting at Columbia, Blake was looking to get even and wasted little time doing so. Blake, who is ranked No. 1 in the country by the ITA, disposed of Millerman 6-2, 6-3 and found a seat to watch his teammates.

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