Wednesday, April 19, 2017

HMT News: Crimson Tied for Ivy League Lead

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HMT News: Ivy League Season Update

This past weekend saw the Crimson square off against the #20 Columbia Lions on Saturday and the #25 Cornell Big Red on Sunday. It was like running through the gauntlet with the back-to-back matches against the top two teams in the league.
 



Junior Captain Jean Thirouin with his eyes locked on this forehand! Photo courtesy of Dean Bauer

Harvard vs. Columbia
On Saturday, against the Lions, it was an old fashioned shoot-out with only one team left standing at the end. With winds topping 20mph all day, the team that could embrace the conditions would have a decided advantage. In the ever critical doubles point, the Lions would roar out to a victory at #2 and post a commanding 5-3 lead at #3 doubles as well. In a critical momentum swing, Chris Morrow and Logan Weber at #3 doubles, rattled off four consecutive games to put us back in the match. With everything hanging on first doubles, veteran senior Brian Yeung and junior ace, Kenny Tao would win a deciding tie-breaker to put Harvard on the board first 1-0.

Singles would be a long, epic battle. Columbia would get on the board first with their star at #1, Shaun Hadavi, winning in straight sets against senior captain Sebastian Beltrame. The Lions would take the overall lead 2-1 with a big win at #6 as Chris Morrow fell to Tim Wong. Next to finish was junior Kenny Tao who earned a convincing 6-4, 6-1 victory to knot the match at 2-2. Kenny game was showing off his aggressive style—laser forehands, foreward court positioning, backhand slices and tactical forays into the net to volley. Sophomore Andy Zhou stepped up next to tilt the match in Harvard's favor. Andy made sure to bring his A-game, which involves an all-court game and big time athleticism. He went up 6-2 and 5-2 only to get a little nervy at the finish line. His opponent brought it back to 5-5 before Zhou regained his composure and won 7-5. Needing only one more point for the win and two matches left on court, the focus turned to junior captain, Jean Thirouin at #3. He was leading 5-2 in the third set against their freshmen star, Jackie Tang. In the windy conditions, Jean was like a rock—hitting heavy and safe cross court balls forcing his opponent to go for the lines. The Lions would not go easily as the score became 5-4 with Jean serving for all the marbles. The match point would last an eternity with neither player giving an inch. Jean finally forces his opponent into a forehand error to push the Crimson past the finish line. You can watch the epic 75 second match point here!


Photo courtesy of Dean Bauer. The men of Harvard after their big win. Note alums Alex Steinroeder, Kelvin Lam and Nicky Hu.  
Harvard vs. Cornell
On Easter Sunday, the Crimson Netters would have to ante up one more time against a top foe Cornell. It would be another close battle. The Crimson would earn a convincing doubles point victory with the teams leading on all three courts. Doubles has proven to be our strong suit winning 12 of the last 15 doubles points (all of those losses came after squandering match points...)  

In singles, the match would swing back and forth for hours. Jean Thirouin would earn the first victory of the day at #3 against Russian sensation Lev Kasakov. Kenny Tao #2 had match points in the second set to put us up 3-0 only to be denied by a sensational recovery by the Big Red that forced a deciding third set. Sebastian Beltrame at #1 was up 3-0 in the third set only to be denied after his opponent cashed in a series of 3-3 all deuce point wins to pull out the final set. 2-1 for Harvard. Cornell would add to their tally with wins at #4 and #5. At #4, Brian Yeung got up 5-2 in the second set tiebreaker only to have his opponent come up with big serve and big shot to wrest the set and the match. Finally, with Kenny in third set at #2, Chris Morrow was up 4-2 in the final set only to watch his Cornell Foe storm back and take the final four games. It was a gut wrenching loss and the chances were there for the taking but Cornell proved too strong on the day. 

We would like to thank an amazing crowd over the weekend. There were so many alums in attendance I couldn't possibly name this all but here goes: Rick Devereux, Dick Chute, Todd Meringoff, Conor Haughey, Nicky Hu, Alex Steinroeder, Denis Nguyen, Davis Mangham, Mike Libert, Rich Lee, and Kelvin Lam. Faculty Fellows Tom Dingman, Mike Phillips and Bill Todd were also all on hand to root the boys on. Thank you to all who came and my apologies if I overlooked anyone but we, as coaches, were pretty busy on court. Your support was so appreciated!  

This weekend, Crimson travels to the Princeton Tigers on Saturday and the Penn Quakers on Sunday. Both matches are at 1pm. If you are in the area, we would love to have you join us. Go HMT! 

Best,
Coach Andrew and Dave 

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

HMT News: Crimson Netters Beat Bulldogs for 18th Straight Series Win

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Dear HMT,

It was a busy weekend for HMT.

On Friday, the Crimson wrestled with the Brown Bears for a 6-1 victory at home in the Murr. It was a strong performance throughout the line-up.

On Saturday, Coach Fish and Rueb travelled to the home of former All-American Mike Zimmerman '92 for a NYC-area Harvard Tennis Alumni gathering featuring 50 alums and family members spanning the generations. We had a blast catching up, swapping stories and eating some great food. Friends Chair Mark Leschly spoke about our new mentorship initiatives as well as how to better connect our alums from around the world. Former Friends Chair Alex Seaver was on hand to pass the torch to Mark and nudge our alums to continue their amazing support. Thanks for everyone for coming out - the guest list is too long to publish here but stay tuned for more alumni news and events in the near future.  

On Sunday, HMT traveled for their annual rivalry match with Yale in New Haven.

Against Yale, in the first outdoor match of the spring season, both teams took a while to find their range in the wind and sun. The doubles started with a decisive  6-1 win at #2 as Sebastian and Jean dropped the hammer. At #3 doubles, it was a match full of swings - down a break, up a break, down a break and finally it would go to a tie-breaker where the Bulldogs took the point with some clutch play down the stretch. But things were still looking good on #1 and #2. Kenny Tao and Brian Yeung at #1 would get up four match points on Yale's serve only to be denied by some dazzling reflex volleys. After holding serve, Yale's top team continued their hot hand to earn the doubles point for the Bulldogs. 

Singles would be a different story. The Crimson gave a dominant performance at the back of the line-up with #4 Brian Yeung, #5 Andy Zhou and #6 Chris Morrow all winning in straight set fashion to put the Crimson up 3-1. Yale's top ranked player, Tyler Lu, would make it a closer match by winning at #1. Leaving it up to Kenny Tao #2 and Jean Thirouin #3 to earn one final point for the Crimson. Kenny would finish first with a 6-4, 6-2 win to clinch the match. This was the Crimson's 18th consecutive win against the Bulldogs. Not that anyone is counting.

Before the match, the annual Grudge Cup doubles event was held with alums from Harvard and Yale.  The doubles level was very high in the friendly rivalry. Our current players had a chance to watch the "old-timers" in action and cheer for them before the main event. 

This weekend we host #20 Columbia at 1pm on Saturday and #25 Cornell at 1pm on Sunday.  Facing these top ranked teams will be an exciting challenge and we look forward to test our skills against the front-runners. There will be plenty of loud visiting fans in the house so a strong hometown crowd cheering us on would be a huge help.  In return, we promise some dazzling tennis.  Please come out and support your team!  

Happy Spring,
Coaches Andrew and Dave 

 

FULL MATCH RESULTS – Harvard 4, Yale 2 

 Position

 Yale University

 Harvard University

 Winner

 Score

 #1 Singles

 #60 Tyler Lu

 Sebastian Beltrame

 Yale University

 6-2, 6-4

 #2 Singles

 Ziqi Wang

 Kenny Tao

 Harvard University

 6-4, 6-2

 #3 Singles

 Dylan King

 Jean Thirouin

 Unfinished

 

 #4 Singles

 Stefan Doehler

 Brian Yeung

 Harvard University

 6-4, 6-1

 #5 Singles

 Andrew Heller

 Andy Zhou

 Harvard University

 6-1, 6-0

 #6 Singles

 Fedor Andrienko

 Chris Morrow

 Harvard University

 6-2, 6-2

 #1 Doubles

 Alex Hagermoser 
 Fedor Andrienko

 #60 Kenny Tao 
 Brian Yeung

 Yale University

 7-5

 #2 Doubles

 Stefan Doehler 
 Dylan King

 Sebastian Beltrame 
 Jean Thirouin

 Harvard University

 6-1

 #3 Doubles

 Tyler Lu 
 Photos Photiades

 Logan Weber 
 Chris Morrow

 Yale University

 7-6


 

 

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

HMT News: Harvard Downs Dartmouth 4-1 in Ivy Opener

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HMT News

The Ivy Tennis Season is officially underway and the Crimson Netters hit the ground running with a strong performance against the Big Green in Hanover. Dartmouth has been a pesky foe the last few seasons. They qualified for the NCAA tournament last year for the first time in well over a decade. We knew we were facing a tough and experienced squad on their home turf.


Photo: Sophomore Chris Morrow lunging for a volley on spring break. Big thanks to photographer Dean Bauer for all the amazing action shots! He is the man behind most of our images!  

The doubles point set the tone of the day. We jumped on them from the first point and went up an early break on all three courts. Third doubles, featuring freshmen Logan Weber and sophomore Chris Morrow, would be the first to notch a victory with a complete 6-2 win. Their aggressive net movement and reflex volley prowess made the difference, as well as their perfect conversion rate on no-Add deuce points. At second doubles, captains Sebastian Beltrame and Jean Thirouin would also go up an early break and seal the deal 6-4. Brian Yeung and Kenny Tao, at first doubles, were up three match points when the game was stopped for singles. Our practices have focused on building strong doubles technique in all phases of the game and their hard work is clearly paying off.

In singles, most of the matches were convincing straight set performances. Dartmouth's senior George Wall would notch the match at 1-1 with a strong win at #5 against Grant Solomon. Next to finish was Kenny Tao at #1 against Ciro Riccardi. Kenny put the hammer down with his laser forehands and aggressive court positioning that often led to finishing points with open court volleys. As a result, Kenny finished with a strong  win 6-2, 6-2.  Shortly afterwards, Chris Morrow at #6 put us ahead 3-1 with an all-court performance. Chris has great variety in his game and surely would have been a super-star player in the wood rackets era. He can slice, serve and volley, stay back and rally as well as hunt short balls to attack. With all phases working at the same time, he is very tough to beat. Chris went on to win 6-1, 6-4.  Now, with three matches left on court, we needed one more point to seal the victory. Jean Thirouin at #2 had just split sets against their top freshmen recruit and was starting the third. Andy Zhou at #4 was down a set and a break in the second. Both matches were very close but tilting towards the Big Green. Senior Brian Yeung at #3 was our best chance to clinch being up a set and two breaks in the second. After his Dartmouth opponent fought off one break, Brian pulled out his best serves of the day to finish the job with several un-returnable canon serves. Watching Brian be mobbed by his teammates after bringing us across the finish line 4-1 was a highlight.  

This Friday at 2p we host Brown and Sunday at 2p we go against the Bulldogs of Yale in New Haven. We are hoping for a record turnout at Yale for this annual rivalry match. Please join us!

Best,
Coaches Andrew and Dave


Harvard 4 - Dartmouth 1 

DOUBLES
1) Brian Yeung/Kenny Tao (Harvard) vs. Diego Pedraza/Roko Glasnovic (Dartmouth), 5-3 (DNF)
2) Sebastian Beltrame/Jean Thirouin (Harvard) def. George Well/David Horneffer (Dartmouth), 6-4
3) Christopher Morrow/Logan Weber (Harvard) def. Max Fliegner/Charlie Broom (Dartmouth), 6-2

SINGLES
1) Kenny Tao (Harvard) def. Ciro Riccardi (Dartmouth), 6-2, 6-2
2) Jean Thirouin (Harvard) vs. Charlie Broom (Dartmouth), 6-4, 2-6 (DNF)
3) Brian Yeung (Harvard) def. Max Fliegner (Dartmouth), 6-3, 6-3
4) Andy Zhou (Harvard) vs. David Horneffer (Dartmouth), 4-6, 3-4 (DNF)
5) George Wall (Dartmouth) def. Grant Solomon (Harvard), 6-0, 6-2
6) Christopher Morrow (Harvard) def. Eddie Grabill (Dartmouth), 6-1, 6-4

 

 

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

HMT News: Spring Break 2017 - California Dreaming

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Photo: The HMT Family on Spring Break after our win against San Diego State. Parents, alums, players and coaches - thank you so much for joining us. With such great crowds, every match felt like a home contest. And a special thanks to our Friends group and all those who support Harvard Tennis for making this trip possible! 

 

Greetings HMT,

We have been back a little more than a week but it feels like a year ago we were basking in the glory of Southern California on Spring Break.  Here in Boston, the lingering snow on the courts is making outdoor tennis feel far away.  

After a rocky start to the trip in which our plane hit the de-icer machine on the runway (everyone was fine but we did make the local news...), we finally got to San Diego and enjoyed all the beauty of La Jolla and the surrounding area. 

Our first opponent was a familiar foe from the past -- the Anteaters of UC-Irvine. All these years later, "Go Eaters" is still their favorite cheer. With only one day of outdoor hitting (due to our flight cancellation) and temperatures near 80 degrees, our guys knew it would be a challenge to play the well-tanned locals. The men of Harvard prevailed in a close 4-3 win. The doubles tipped the scale in our favor as we split the singles action. We managed to win all three doubles positions and notched impressive wins in the middle of the singles line-up at #3 Jean Thirouin, #4 Andy Zhou, and #5 Grant Solomon respectively. 



Some great Spring Break traditions on spring break have developed over the years-- staying with amazing local families (thanks to the Curtins, Mandelbaums, Barbers, Holms and Moses' for your gracious hospitality!), hit-arounds at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, a trip to the Rancho Valencia farmers market, as well as an all-you-can eat Brazilian BBQ spot that has become a team favorite.  Experience has taught us to schedule this meal well before any matches as the boys are slower (and heavier) the following day  Below is a post-dinner photo with the boys putting back all the weight they lost on court. 

 

A new tradition was started this year with a mid-week lift at an outdoor gym. Lifting outdoors under the watchful eye of the enormous Arnold Schwarzenegger picture in the background was a novelty for the Crimson, and an inspiration.  



The final three days of the trip are when we compete in the 7th Annual San Diego Spring Break Tournament jointly hosted by University of San Diego and San Diego State.  We actually helped start this event with these teams and aligned the tournament with our school break.  The tournament has grown through the years and now features some top level teams from around the country like Oregon, Tulane, Iowa, Drake as well as the host teams. We played Iowa in the opening round and fell 4-2.  Once again, we garnered the doubles point but fell hard in singles to a very veteran Big-10 team. This was only the second singles match of the season with our #1 player and captain Sebastian Beltrame in the line-up.  It has been a frustrating year of injuries for our leader who has grappled with a string serious of injuries.

Sebastian was sidelined for the rest of the trip after Iowa, but our team rebounded against the Aztecs. Our doubles continued to roll and with the extra point in our win column we pounced on them at the top of the line-up with wins at #1, #2 and #4 (#3 was in the second set when the match was clinched).  We saw great outdoor performances by Kenny Tao, Jean Thirouin and Andy Zhou.  

On the final day we had our annual battle with the scrappy Drake Bulldogs.  In what has become one of our favorite rivalries through the years - this years feisty contest didn't disappoint.  Last year we stole the dog treats from the Bulldogs by winning 4-3 in the last match.  This year, we rushed out to a quick lead by winning #1 doubles, and were up a break at #2 and #3 doubles.  We had multiple match points on BOTH courts and found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Not our finest performance under pressure to be sure.  

Singles had its own drama. We quickly fell behind 3-0 after Drake took the first and third singles line.  But the tide starting turning in the Crimson favor.  The crowd rallied behind Harvard's improved play.  Jean Thirouin would capture the second singles slot and Grant Solomon would bring us back by winning at #5.  Andy Zhou managed to scrap his way back from a set and 4-1 down in the second to take the set and pull ahead in the third set!  The match would come down to third set tie-breaker #6 where Chris Morrow would face an excellent Bulldog competitor (who had played in their top three last year).  Drake's Bayo Phillips would come up huge with some rocket serve and volley plays to take the day.  It was an great match to be a part of and made us proud as coaches of the team's fight and resilience.

After garnering three wins this past weekend back in Boston against Louisiana and Buffalo and Amherst, the team is ready for the start of the Ivy season this Saturday at 2pm, April 1st in Hanover, NH.  The following week will find the Crimson at home on Friday, April 7th against Brown at 2pm and then at Yale on Sunday, April 9th at 2pm. We are excited for the opportunities ahead and would love to see many of you there cheering us on! 

 

Thanks,

Coaches Andrew and Dave

 

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