October 18, 2010

Injuries Slow Men’s Tennis Team at USTA/ITA Regional Championships

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The Cornell men’s tennis team wrapped up its USTA/ITA Regional Championships action Sunday at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center on Yale’s campus. Senior co-captain Andy Gauthier fell in a tight Main Draw fourth-round match and the Red’s three doubles teams lost, ending banged-up Cornell’s representation in New Haven, Conn., and pointing the team towards its invitational in Ithaca in two weeks.After a first-round bye, Gauthier defeated Nikola Kocovic of Penn, 7-5, 7-6, and Mike Lampa of St. Johns, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. But in the fourth round, Gauthier ran into Arnav Jain of Binghamton, who defeated him in a nail-biting match, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6.“[Jain] was a lot better than the first two guys I played,” Gauthier said. “I thought I played alright, but it just didn’t go my way.”Gauthier recognizes the luck involved in winning a match with three tiebreakers, even for a talented player like Jain. “Although I didn’t return as well as in my first couple matches, I thought I did enough,” he said. “When a match comes down to the line in the future, hopefully it’ll go my way.”The Red looks to get healthy during its two-week break before hosting the Cornell Invitational the weekend of Oct. 29-31 at the Reis Tennis Center. Senior Mirza Klis is suffering from a sore back, while senior co-captain Jonathan Jaklitsch has an injured hip flexor. Freshman Evan McElwain, who saw his first action last weekend after injuring his pectoral muscle six weeks ago, teamed with junior Evan Bernstein as one of three Cornell pairs in the doubles draw. The duo lost 8-4 to Matija Pecotic and Matt Siow of Princeton in the third round. “It felt really good to finally compete and be part of the action,” McElwain said. “The injury didn’t really affect me at all.”The victories in the first two rounds, as well as McElwain’s ability to smoothly jump into the lineup, gave the freshman a positive outlook on his first collegiate action. “It’s unusual to play with somebody for the first time in a tournament, but [Bernstein] and I clicked pretty quickly and were able to win a couple matches,” McElwain said.The other Cornell doubles pairs faired similarly against Ivy League foes. Jaklitsch and Klis lost 9-7 in the third round to Alistair Felton and Andy Nguyen of Harvard. Gauthier and senior Jeremy Feldman were defeated 8-4 in the fourth round by Matt Spindler and Augie Bloom of Princeton.Cornell Head coach Tony Bresky noted many positives from the Red’s performance last weekend. “While we didn’t have the best results, I think our effort was there,” Bresky said. “You can see all the fitness work we’ve been doing is paying off. We were probably the fittest team there this weekend.” One of those fit players is speedy freshman Zhongming Chen, who not only won two matches to qualify for the Invitational but also bounced back from losing in the first round of the Main Draw with two consolation wins. Chen lost to Max Sztabholtz of Stony Brook, 6-3, 6-2, in the third round of the Back Draw.Chen is one of the reasons Bresky is optimistic about the remainder of the Red’s 2010-2011 season, which features only two more tournaments this calendar year. The players agree.“Everyone is working hard –– there’s no doubt about that,” McElwain said. We’ll be prepared for every match and we’ll do well, especially if we can stay healthy. We have a strong group of guys here.”Cornell could benefit from being a little lucky as well. “We were on the verge of having a great tournament, but things didn’t quite break our way,” Bresky said. “But we’ll regroup and prepare for our home tourney in two weeks.”    Bresky knows the one constant will be his team’s effort. “When you play Cornell, you better prepare for a battle. We are fit and hungry,” he said.

Original Author: Quintin Schwab