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Men's Tennis Finishes 2-2 on West Coast Swing

Over spring break, the Harvard men’s tennis team traveled across the country to train and compete in sunny California. The squad took on UC Irvine on March 13 before facing Iowa, San Diego State, and Drake in the Mission Valley Spring Classic tournament from March 16 through 18.

“The team overall performed pretty well,” junior Grant Solomon said. “We are putting in the hard work every day and we are trusting the process in every sense of that phrase.”

DRAKE 4, HARVARD 2

In its final match of the Mission Valley Spring Classic in La Jolla, Calif., the Crimson (9-8) squad took on the Bulldogs (11-8).

Saturday’s matchup against Drake marked the first time Harvard has given up the doubles point in six matches. The powerhouse doubles duo of senior Brian Yeung and junior Kenny Tao earned a win at first doubles, moving to 11-5 this season. The Crimson failed to close out the doubles point, however, as the second and third doubles teams fell in close tiebreakers.

Going into singles play, the outlook appeared bleak as five Harvard players gave up their first sets and Tao fell at first singles. Two wins from co-captain Jean Thirouin and Solomon gave the team hope, however, as it advanced to 3-2.

Thirouin’s, 7-6, 7-5, win at second singles earned him a perfect, 4-0, singles record for the team’s California trip. Solomon battled back at fifth singles after losing the first set in a neck-and-neck tiebreaker, taking the next two sets, 6-3, 6-4.

“The match literally went from impossible, to improbable, to possible,” Solomon said.

Ultimately, the Bulldogs won the deciding sixth singles match. Sophomore Chris Morrow took the first set, 6-4, before falling, 5-7, in the second set. The third set went into a tiebreaker, with Drake junior Bayo Philips pulling ahead to clinch the point.

“[The match] was something we should be proud of,” Solomon said. “But the journey is just getting started. No one said it was going to be easy, it's not what we signed up for. Hard work is just the price of admission.”

HARVARD 4, SAN DIEGO STATE 1

With two decisive wins from its second and third doubles teams, the Crimson took the doubles point to start the match against the Aztecs (5-10) off with an advantage.

On the singles side, after Morrow fell to his San Diego State opponent at sixth singles, straight-set wins from Thirouin and sophomore Andy Zhou put Harvard ahead at 3-1. For the match-clinching victory, Tao overcame a close tiebreaker in the first set and won his second set, 6-4, to give the Crimson the 4-1 victory.

IOWA 4, HARVARD 2

The matchup between the Harvard and the Hawkeyes (10-6) started off with a contentious doubles point. After the duo of Morrow and rookie Logan Weber clinched a victory at third doubles, improving their record to 10-3, first doubles pair Yeung and Tao fell, 6-4. It came down to the duo of co-captains Thirouin and Sebastian Beltrame, and they prevailed with a tiebreaker win over their Iowa opponents, granting the Crimson the doubles point.

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