The Cornell men’s tennis team extended its home winning streak to 17 with back to back victories against Brown and Yale over the weekend. The Red (21-4, 4-0 Ivy League) will be an intimidating force in its matchups against Penn, Columbia and Princeton to close out the Ivy season.
The Red’s victory over Brown was a close one, 4-3. All three doubles teams had triumphed and it seemed as though Cornell would claim an easy win. Victory seemed even closer when the team clinched wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the singles competition.
“I came out firing and never looked back, and it ended up getting me the win so I’m very happy about that,” said senior Andy Gauthier.
Brown quickly fought back after losing all of its doubles matches, claiming the ‘W’ in the three other singles contests. With the overall score knotted, 3-3, it was up to the freshman Zhongming Chen to decide the match. After a close first set loss, 6-4, Chen maintained his composure to take the second set, 6-0. The decisive third set win, 7-6 (1), over Tim Klanke extended the Red’s winning streak to 16 straight.
“The doubles all weekend were superb and it is something we need to continue to dominate at if we want to accomplish our goal of winning the Ivy League title,” said senior Jonathan Jaklitsch. “Zhongming Chen deserves a lot of the credit for the match. Despite cramping and being two points away from losing the match multiple times, he won, 7-6, in the third set in a four and a half hour thriller to clinch the match for us.”
The celebration was short-lived as rest was vital for the Red because of the squad’s match against Yale early Sunday morning.
“We didn’t really have [too much] time between the matches, but everyone went home after the match, ate a good meal and got to bed early because Yale was going to be ready for us as well,” Gauthier said.
The win against Yale was yet another close call. The start of the match was similar to what occurred a day earlier against Brown. Once again the Red claimed all three doubles victories, which meant that the singles games would determine the final score.
“Both matchups were very difficult,” Jaklitsch said. “Brown was a bit more even throughout their lineup, while Yale’s lineup was much more top-heavy.”
Gauther, Jaklitsch and fellow senior Mirza Klis all lost hard fought matches, leaving the team’s chances of earning a victory to the bottom three positions.
“I feel as though we have more depth this year than last year which definitely showed itself when we won the bottom three singles spots,” Gauthier said. “They switched up their lineup on us and got great matchups for the Top-3 players, which helped their team immensely.”
Senior Jeremy Feldman Feldman, playing in the No. 4 position, triumphed, 7-6, 6-4. In the fifth spot senior Evan Bernstein held off Yale with an easy win, 6-1, 6-4. Freshman Venkat Iyer also contributed to the Cornell win with an impressive victory in the No. 6 position, 6-2, 6-1.
The team will play an away game against Penn in Phialdelphia, Pa. on Friday and will return home on Sunday for matches against Ithaca College, Princeton and St. Lawrence.
Original Author: Chris Kim