With a blizzard on the forecast for Saturday, the Harvard men’s tennis team’s Ivy opener against Dartmouth was rescheduled to Sunday afternoon. On Sunday, the team made the two-hour trek to Hanover, N.H., but the trip was worth it: with a 4-1 defeat of the Big Green, the Crimson extended its win-streak to four and entered Ivy competition on a strong note.
“I think the team did a great job today, high energy doubles and singles,” sophomore Andy Zhou said. “Everyone really stuck to and executed their game plans very well and that was absolutely critical to the win.”
Harvard (13-8, 1-0 Ivy) continued its dominance in doubles this weekend against Dartmouth (7-11, 0-1). Sophomore Chris Morrow and freshman Logan Weber made quick work of their opponents at third doubles clinching a 6-2 win.
The duo of co-captains Jean Thirouin and Sebastian Beltrame then took home a 6-4 win at second doubles, with Beltrame returning to the courts after a break due to an injury, and giving Harvard an early 1-0 edge.
“This was a really big win for us to get the Ivy season going,” Thirouin said.
The Big Green came back to win the first singles match and even the score as junior Grant Solomon fell to his opponent at fifth singles. Junior Kenny Tao and Morrow took the next two matches in straight sets at first and sixth singles, respectively, to put Harvard ahead 3-1.
Dartmouth proved tough competition. Thirouin and Zhou battled it out at second and fourth singles, respectively, both winning one set and giving up another.
“My match was a battle and probably would have lasted longer if they guys hadn’t clinched already,” Zhou said.
Yeung’s 6-3, 6-3 victory at third singles, however, decided the outcome of the match. With Dartmouth unable to recover from Harvard’s 4-1 lead, Zhou and Thirouin’s matches went unfinished and Harvard earned its first in-conference victory.
“This was a great start to the Ivies. Dartmouth is a very solid team this year and we had to bring our absolute best to close it out today,” Zhou said.
The Crimson’s win puts the all-time dual-match record against Dartmouth at 80-9. The recovery of multiple players from injuries, including Beltrame and Zhou, proved critical this weekend and will be important as the team continues on into Ivy play.
“I suffered a cartilage tear in my left wrist last summer that impeded me most of the fall, but the solution ended up being a brace,” Zhou said. “Now I just wear a brace on my hand when I play and it pretty much solves the whole thing.”
As it enters the rest of Ivy season, the team feels confident and looks forward to taking on the increased competition. With a three-game win-streak under its belt, the team will host Brown next weekend.
“We’re focused on taking it one match at a time and excited to see what we can do,” Thirouin said. “The team has been working towards reaching peak performance during this time of the season, and it’s definitely a confidence boost to have gotten off to a great start today.”
—Staff writer Jamie Chen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org