Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Harvard Men's Tennis Newsletter

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Dear Harvard Tennis Family,

Greetings from a snowy Harvard Yard. This update will get you caught up on all the action from the past two weeks. 


Overview: Crimson Tennis 6-3 record to start the season (with three top 40 wins and four 4-3 victories)

#30 Tulane and #39 Drake at the Murr
After the ITA Kick-off Weekend at Texas Christian University where the team split a pair of matches - falling to juggernaut of an Oklahoma State Team (that will soon be in the top 10) and edging the #39 Aztecs of San Diego State in the second match - the team returned home to the Murr Center to tussle with the #30 Green Waves of Tulane and the #39 Bulldogs of Drake. It was high drama with both matches coming down to the last match. Against Tulane, losing the doubles point would prove to be costly, as Brian Yeung lost an epic third set tiebreaker at #2 singles. The following day against Drake, proving that life often provides opportunities for redemption, Brian would once again be the last man standing and this time flipped the script by pulling out a third set for the win at #3 singles! Watch the video highlights or read the recap. 

Memphis and #27 Vanderbilt 
This past weekend the team ventured south of the Mason-Dixon line to play in Nashville against Memphis and SEC powerhouse Vanderbilt.  It was a great weekend of top flight tennis and southern culture.  Memphis had beaten Vanderbilt the day before 5-2 so we knew they were a rising team, loaded with British and German studs.  The doubles point came down to a "wicked" tiebreaker at #3 doubles.  We split the top two doubles, with sophomore Kenny Tao and junior Sebastian Beltrame notching the win at the second slot while senior Nicky Hu and junior Brian Yeung lost in the top spot.  Senior captain Conor Haughey and senior Kelvin Lam would save three match points along the way in an epic tiebreaker but ultimately fell 11-9.  The singles was not as close - the Tigers mauled us pretty soundly in the first five singles spots (only five indoor courts, so #6 Kelvin Lam had to wait).  

Before our battle with #27 Vanderbilt, the team took an evening adventure to see the "Grand Ole Opry" and watch the live performances of the various country luminaries.  Perhaps it was the good country music that soothed our souls from the loss from the day before, because the team came ready to play against the Commodores.  The doubles point was another nail-biter.  Remember that college tennis is now all no-ad scoring and doubles is only one set (last year it was an 8 game pro-set).  So doubles really is an old fashioned quick draw shootout.  One mistake and the match can be over.  This time the doubles point hinged on our #1 doubles team of Nicky Hu and Brian Yeung, who found themselves down 4-1 in the tie-breaker - only to rattle off the next six points in a row!  It can be feast or famine in the doubles point, but on Sunday at least, we feasted.  

The singles started ominously with HMT dropping 4 of the first 5 singles sets.  Our six singles player, Kelvin Lam, was waiting in the wings.  We would fall in straight sets at #1 and #2 singles followed by Kenny Tao at #4 who went down in a third set.  With three matches on court and trailing 3-1, our backs were up against the wall.  The first person to notch a singles win was Brian Yeung at #3.  Brian plays like a bull - explosive serve and lightning two handed backhand who puts relentless pressure on his opponents.  Brian would pull out a straight set win.  Our attention then turned to freshmen Andy Zhou at #5 who was locked in a struggle in the third set.  Andy is a very athletic player who wins with his all court game.  He built a strong lead in the third and was able to serve it out for the win.  That left Kelvin on court for all the marbles at #6. Kelvin won the first set and traded breaks of serve to go into a second set tiebreaker.  You should be sure to watch match point as Kelvin played up in the court and kept hunting for opportunities to hurt his opponent.  It was a great clinching victory and marked our fourth 4-3 victory of the season! Watch match point by clicking here as it is the first video in the Harvard's Top 5 Plays of the Week...  To view all the scores and full recap you can read them here

We are off to University of Pennsylvania this weekend for the ECAC Championships.  We play Yale at 11am on Friday in the opening round match up.  The Crimson is next home at the end of February against St. John's on Friday, February 26th at 4pm and Sunday, February 28th at noon against the Northwestern Wildcats. 

You can watch all the indoor home matches on the Ivy League Digital Network or simply follow along on our award winning Twitter feed @HMTOfficial.  

Best from Boston,

Andrew Rueb
Director of Spherical Analysis

David Fish
Chair of Tennis Studies


Please don't include me in future emails.

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