This weekend at the Ivy Plus Tournament, the strategy for the Harvard men’s tennis team was to divide and conquer. Four players traveled to Princeton, N.J., while five made the trek to Philadelphia, Pa. to compete in the tournament co-hosted by Penn and Princeton.
With players taking on seven matches throughout the three-day event, the team had several standout performances in the first Ivy League play of the season.
“We got a lot of matches in, got to work more on our game plan and tactics,” senior Brian Yeung said. “Everyone looked more comfortable in matches and even during pressured conditions.”
Returning to the courts after battling an injury last spring, junior Grant Solomon upset Bryant freshman and number one seed Matt Kuhar before advancing to the final at Penn. After dropping the first set of his first two matches, the Texas native managed to come back both times.
“I really had to dig in mentally and physically,” Solomon said. “But just enjoying being healthy after last season and coming back strong was rewarding in itself, and I’m honestly just thrilled to be healthy and to have been able to have been clutch in the key moments.”
Solomon has yet to drop a three set match all year. Although he lost in straight sets in the final contest of the first singles flight, he made it to the semifinals of his doubles match.
Fellow junior and Texas native Xavier Gonzalez also had a strong showing, making it to the semifinals in the third singles flight. Gonzalez came out on top in two close three-set matches this weekend, only falling to Penn State sophomore Zach Lieb.
Besides offering a sheer volume of matches, the tournament also provided valuable experience for the freshmen on the team. Rookie Galen Lee, who struggled to close out the win last weekend at the Chowder Fest, took home two victories in the consolation matches of his flight. Lee’s victories included a 6-1, 6-2 sweep of his Penn opponent.
“The freshmen had their first matches away from home and performed well,” Solomon said. “We all competed well against both the other Ivies and schools out of conference.”
At the Lenz Tennis Center in Princeton, the Crimson came out on top in doubles, ending the weekend with a 5-1 record. The duo of Yeung and sophomore Michael Peters proved unstoppable on the doubles courts, as the pair earned three consecutive wins and edged out its Dartmouth opponents 8-7 in the final.
“Michael and I got to play a lot of doubles last week, got to know each other’s style more,” Yeung said. “So we played much better as a doubles pair this week.”
Junior Kenny Tao and co-captain Jean Thirouin also made it to the finals of their doubles draw, sweeping their Tennessee and South Carolina opponents. However, the pair ultimately lost to a Buffalo duo in the finals.