Dear Harvard Tennis followers,
We apologize for the radio silence but it has been a busy few weeks. To get you up to speed, we are now in Athens, Georgia for the NCAA individual championships. Harvard #1, Denis Nguyen, is in the semifinals today around 1:30pm. You can watch today's NCAA semifinals on live-streaming not before 1:30 pm by clicking here (either "field court" 1 or 3).
Denis has powered through the draw with wins over stars from Texas, Duke, South Carolina and Florida. He has been playing superb tennis and all his hard work is starting to pay off. (You can view the draw here.)
Denis has already earned All-American honors and is trying to equal James Blake as the last Harvard player to reach the NCAA finals. Jon Chu made the semifinals in 2005 in College Station, Texas in both singles and doubles (with partner Ashwin Kumar). We are believe Albert Chang made the quarters here in Athens in the early 90s and recall that Howard Sands also made it quarters in the 80s, but without access to the actual records, I'm sure we'll hear back quickly if we've missed something!
We are so proud of all of his work and his improvements. Denis was named team MVP and co-captain for next year's squad along with senior, Alex Steinroeder in the end of the year team elections.
Denis and Casey MacMaster battled in doubles in Athens falling in the first round to UCLA #1 Marcos Giron and Mackie Macdonald 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. The Crimson actually briefly held match point in the third set breaker. It was an epic battle and the last college match of senior captain Casey Macmaster. Casey had an undefeated NCAA record till that match having won all five dual matches at the big dance over the past three seasons. We will miss you Casey!!!
In terms of the NCAA team event in Norman, Oklahoma, the Crimson bested SEC stalwart Auburn 4-1 in the first round. This was the third consecutive year that Harvard has won its opening round in the NCAA team event. We lost the doubles point and roared back in singles to take 5 of 6 first sets. Freshmen Brian Yeung clinched the match with a laser backhand return winner at #5 singles. You can read all about the win and see some highlights here.
In the second round, the Crimson squared off with the #2 seeded Oklahoma Sooners. It was a great day of tennis. Both teams had match points to win the doubles (we had 4 and they had 7!) before the Sooners clinched the point. In singles, the Okies were too strong at the top while matches 3-6 were hotly contested. Both Nicky Hu and Alex Steinroeder were in the third sets before the match was decided. The Sooners would go on to make the NCAA finals after beating a stacked UCLA team in the semis.
More later on the team. Go Crimson!