The Harvard men’s tennis team just wrapped up its first tournament of the season this weekend, but the Crimson already looks a lot like last season’s Ivy League-winning team.
Harvard hosted its annual fall tournament, the Harvard Chowder Fest at the Beren Center, and invited top teams UC Berkeley, Tulsa, and San Diego to compete as it kicks off its bid to win a third straight Ancient Eight title.
The tournament was not played in the typical dual play format, but rather in a “mock dual” format designed to maximize exposure to different teams and emphasize individual matches over team scoring.
“The idea is to play each match to completion, which gives us a good idea of how they went,” junior Shaun Chaudhuri said. “We want to know things we need to improve on, and what we did well.”
On Sunday, the Crimson played singles against No. 25 Tulsa, which fell to Baylor in the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament last year.
“By this point in the weekend, we were all hurting,” junior Alex Steinroeder said. “But we all came out and played well, and I thought it was a very strong end to what was a good weekend.”
On Saturday, Harvard played singles against USD, and then doubles against Cal.
The Crimson was able to capture five out of the seven singles matches, all in two sets. Freshmen Sebastian Beltrame and Brian Yeung both easily captured their matches, and sophomore Kelvin Lam also cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win. Chaudhuri, playing at No. 4, won 6-2, 6-3, and sophomore Nicky Hu took a 6-4, 6-1 win.
Only Steinroeder and fellow junior Denis Nguyen, playing in the top two singles spots, fell to their San Diego counterparts.
In doubles against Cal, Nguyen and senior co-captain Casey MacMaster, who are ranked No. 20 in the country, cruised to an 8-2 victory in the top slot, but three new pairings fell. Yeung and Steinroeder, Hu and Beltrame, and Lam and sophomore Nick Mahlangu all lost close matches.
“Saturday was another strong team outing,” Steinroeder said. “Everyone really showed that they’d been working hard this summer. No freshman lost a match, which was really cool to see.”
Friday’s action featured the Crimson against the Golden Bears in singles, followed by doubles against USD.
Harvard again took five out of the seven singles matches against Cal, who finished last season ranked 17th nationally. Chaudhuri and junior Henry Steer were the only blemishes on the Crimson’s record.
Nguyen looked strong in taking a 6-5, 6-1 win on the first court over the Golden Bears’ Gregory Bayane, and Steinroeder also rolled to a 6-0, 6-2 victory at No. 3. Hu, playing at No. 4, beat freshman Andre Goransson, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
Two Harvard freshmen also notched impressive three-set wins. Beltrame rebounded from a poor first set to take down Cal junior Nikhil Jayashankar 1-6, 6-2, 6-4, and freshman Andrew Ball beat Wyatt Houghton, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
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