Saturday, September 29, 2007

Harvard Defeats Quakers 6-1 - back into the semis at the ECACs!

Harvard Defeats Quakers 6-1 - Avenging Last Season's Ivy-League Loss

Maybe it's the ghost of James Blake but Harvard seems to be getting back to form at the hallowed grounds of the US Open. Harvard, seeded forth in the ECAC tournament, faced off against a hobbled U Penn team, the fifth seed, in a lopsided contest early this morning. Penn was without several key members from their Ivy-League Championship season of last year and were probably overmatched from the start. In doubles, Kumar and Ermakov continued their winning ways by dismantling the Quakers top duo, Pinsky and Goodman, 8-5. While Hayes and Omodele-Lucien lost at second doubles, Captain Clayton and freshman Will "Goose" Guzick polished off Penn 8-5 for the clinching win. Today was Guzick's first team victory. His punishing groundies coupled with great closing instincts made for a long day for the Quakers third pair.

The singles matches were almost all routine matches. Penn was without the services of Jon Boym, an All-Ivy player. Justin Fox moved up from #3 to fill the void and was easily despatched by Chris Clayton, who registered a 6-1, 6-2 win. Captain Dan Nugyen downed freshman Marcel Goodman 6-0, 6-1 while Sasha Ermakov made similar quick work of Alex Vasin 6-3, 6-0. Aba Omodele Lucien tallied his second victory and number six singles by taking out Justin Roth 6-3, 6-2. Our only loss came at the number five position where Alexei Chijoff-Evans got his first taste of the "duel match" in college tennis against a wily Adam Schwarz, 7-5, 6-0. The best news of the day was Kumar's big win over Jared Pinsky, a top league opponent, 6-3, 6-3. Today, Kumar utilized his ginsu-knife slices and volleys to great advantage. Ashwin was more relaxed and aggressive than yesterday, perhaps due to a late afternoon hit with me yesterday in Arthur Ashe Stadium. We snuck into the stadium through an unguarded entrance and wound our way through the maze-like hallways. We emerged on centre court with no net – but that didn't stop us from enjoying the ambiance, striking a few balls and tracing the fresh footmarks of Federer and Blake like religious pilgrims. The problem came when we tried to leave and found all the doors locked! Only after fifteen panic-filled minutes did we discover a member of the cleaning staff, who escorted us to the Security Office. They issued us a stern warning while we feigned ignorance (which wasn't hard to do), "We were only looking at the pictures" I said, before trying another tact, "Where do we sign up for Qualies?" Ashwin thought later to add, "We were supposed to hit with James Blake." Only then did they let us out of the cavernous underbelly of the great stadium. Apologies, of course, to Jim Curley '81 and Tournament Director of the US Open for invading his playground!

Several NY alums came out of the first two rounds and deserve an honorable mention. Caleb Garder, the captain of the '06 team, came out to watch our match against the Colonials on Friday. Caleb is in New York getting his MFA at NYU while slowly amassing Pre-Med credits as well. He is living with Jason Beren '05, whom we hope to see yet! Today, captains Gideon Valkin '07 and Scott Denenberg '07 (accompanied by papa Deneberg – a fixture at Harvard matches for the last four years) rooted the Crimson to victory, as did Jon Chu '06, who is hosting a BBQ chez Chu, in Long Island later this evening for the team. We hope to see more of you out tomorrow for our match against Penn State, the top seed in the region, at 8am at Flushing Meadows. Stay tuned.

Andrew Rueb '95
(team scribe)

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