#33 Harvard Tennis: News and Views
Inside this issue:
Michigan State Preview
Recap of #24 Northwestern and #25 Memphis
Harvard vs. MSU: Tomorrow at Murr!
The Crimson Netters will take to the Murr Center at noon tomorrow, Saturday March 7th, against Michigan State. This is our third match against the Big 10 this season (Minnesota, Northwestern) and we are hoping to go 3-0. Following the match at 5pm, Harvard will square off against Bryant in a double-header. Come out and support the team.
Streaming at IvyLeagueDigitalNetwork.com.
Harvard vs. #24 Northwestern
We had two 4-3 matches two weeks back against #24 Northwestern and #25 Memphis. They were truly barn burning, hair-raising affairs. The quality of tennis and competitive spirit was at a fever pitch. Against the Wildcats of Northwestern, backed by a boisterous home crowd on Friday evening, the Crimson dropped the doubles point (again) to start the match. And the news didn't get better with the start of singles. Junior ace, Shaun Chaudhuri, fell to freshmen sensation Sam Shropshire at second singles – putting Harvard in an 0-2 hole. Andrew Ball, at #6, got Harvard on the board with a straight set win and #1 Denis Nguyen tied the match at 2-2 with a win at the top position. Now there were three matches left on court and we needed two to win. All the matches still in play were in the midst of hotly contested third sets. Sebastian Beltrame, at #3, would fall against a very savvy Wildcat opponent that left only captain Alex Steinroeder and freshmen Brian Yeung to get the job done. The veteran Steinroeder would pull out the third set 6-3 against Alp Horoz, which left everything up to Yeung, who sent the match into a third set tie-breaker for all the marbles. Brian, leading 5-4 (up a mini-break), hit two big first serves to clinch the match for Harvard.
Harvard vs. #25 Memphis
On Sunday, with a day of rest, the Crimson went right back to work against a very tall and aggressive Memphis team. If anyone thought that college tennis had become more of a baseline-dominated game , this would have been a great match to see. Memphis has some of the best doubles in the country. It was a clash of the titans at #1 doubles. Casey MacMaster and Denis Nguyen are ranked #13 in the country and have put up some great numbers this year. The duo had to battle against Memphis star tandem of Salisbury and O'Hare, who are ranked #10 in the country and had just lost in a tight match to the Bryan twins in the Memphis ATP Tour event the week before. The tandem of Christo Schultz and Sebastian Beltrame were first on the board, notching their first win for the Crimson at third doubles. Nicky Hu and Brian Yeung fell in a close contest at #2, which left it all up to a tiebreaker at #1 doubles. Memphis edged us out 8-6 in the deciding tie-breaker.
In singles, the match would be close all the way. Memphis would move ahead 2-0 with a big win at the top spot – the first dual match loss for Denis. Brian Yeung was ahead in the first set – and then pulled a hip flexor. He limped gamely along, but fell in straight sets. Down 3-0, our players all showed a lot of heart. Florida sensation Sebastian Beltrame would put the Crimson on the board with a straight set win at #3 to make it 1-3. Andrew Ball would fight for a 6-1 third set win to make it 2-3. Alex Steinroeder would dig out a third set breaker with some clutch volleys to tie the match at 3-3, which turned all eyes to the #2 court, where Shaun Chaudhuri had somehow managed to take Memphis' Joe Salisbury to a third set. Salisbury turned up the heat in the third set, using all the variety of a pro to slice, dice and chop our star, Shaun Chaudhuri down to size. It was a tough to come so close, but a marvelous match in terms of competitiveness and sportsmanship from both sides.
Memphis is in the same tournament with us in San Diego two weeks from now, so we're itching for a rematch!