If you haven’t been paying attention to men’s tennis, this might be the time to start.
After losing two out of its three matches last weekend, the Harvard men’s tennis team thrashed its opponents on Friday at the Murr Tennis Center. The Crimson swept both of its opponents easily, starting out the weekend with a 5-2 victory over Davidson and finishing it off with a 7-0 rout over Quinnipiac. The victory was Harvard’s third win in a row, putting the squad at 4-3 for the season.
HARVARD 7, QUINNIPIAC 0
The final score might imply that the win came easily, but that was not the case—at least not in the doubles. Although the Crimson pulled through in all three doubles matches, two came down to the end and could have fallen either way. Sophomore Will MacNamee and junior Davis Mangham pulled out a marathon 9-8 victory, and the duo of co-captain Aba Omodele-Lucien and freshman John Thornton gutted out a tough 8-6 match.
Harvard then came out and dominated in the singles. The Crimson won five out of six matches in straight sets, losing a total of just seventeen games. Mangham cruised through the first set and then bagelled his opponent in the second to wrap things up quickly, earning another point for Harvard.
Freshman Brendan Seaver progressed through his match in a similar fashion in his first match of the weekend, winning 6-1, 6-2. Junior Mac McAnulty, playing No. 4, also earned another point for his team in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.
I’ve definitely worked hard and think I’ve improved over the last couple of weeks,” Seaver said. “I’ve been working with [coach] Dave [Fish ‘72] to improve on some of my weaknesses.”
Most of the Crimson players had an easy time in their matches, but Thornton toughed out a long three-setter against James Kwei to complete the sweep over the Bobcats.
The two traded the opening sets. Thornton, playing No. 3 for Harvard, won the first set, 6-3, but Kwei turned the match around with a second-set win by the same score. Thornton finally managed to pull out the longest match of the night, 10-8 in the third.
HARVARD 5, DAVIDSON 2
Harvard got things started off in a similar fashion against the Wildcats with victories in all three of the doubles matches, getting the squad out to an early lead. The duos of junior Alistair Felton and sophomore Andy Nguyen and freshman Casey MacMaster and junior Jonathan Pearlman each toughed out 8-6 wins. Omodele-Lucien and Tchan progressed through their matchup much more easily with an 8-3 victory over their opponents from Davidson.
For the singles, the Crimson picked up four out of the six victories, but two of the victories did not come easily. In the No. 1 position Pearlman fell to Joe Schafer, in the first set, 6-3. But the junior came out firing in the second set and emerged the winner, taking the next two sets, 6-3, 6-3.
“He was a serve and volley player, so in the second set, I made a lot of returns and hit the ball low,” Pearlman said. “I served a lot better in the second two sets, so I was able to hold serve and break him twice...that’s how I was able to come back.”
Felton seemed like he was going to roll through his match when he won the first set, 6-2. But in the second set, his opponent turned the tables on Felton, evening the match at one set apiece. The third set was a battle, but Felton managed to pull out the victory in the end, 6-4, to give Harvard another point against the Wildcats.
Omodele-Lucien and MacMaster were the other two winners of the afternoon. Omodele-Lucien defeated Arie Hefter, conceding only five games, and MacMaster beat out Kevin Moore in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
Harvard is picking up its play at the right moment of the season and improving as the matchups progress. If the Crimson can continue the play that has been showcased lately, the squad just may be able to accomplish its goal of an Ivy League Championship.
—Staff writer Steven T. A. Roach can be reached at email@example.com.