It was a big opening tournament in Princeton, New Jersey, for Cornell men’s tennis this weekend at the Ivy Plus Invitational — especially for sophomore Evan Bynoe, who took home the “Pagoda” flight singles championship as well as second place alongside junior Lev Kazakov in the “White” doubles flight.
With superb movement and consistent groundstrokes, Bynoe defeated Louisiana State’s Agie Moreno in dominating 6-2, 6-2 fashion to secure the Pagoda singles flight championship on Sunday. In the four matches it took Bynoe to win the flight, he only dropped two sets and finished with an astonishing 55-31 games record in singles competition.
“I would say that my forehand and movement were my best points,” Bynoe said. “I was making up a lot of strokes on the ground and making my opponents play a lot of shots.”
That wasn’t the end for Bynoe as he and junior Lev Kazakov made a push in the “White” flight doubles championship against fellow Ivy Leaguers, Peter Conklin and Casey Ross from Dartmouth. After a slow start following a rain storm that forced play to move indoors, Bynoe and Kazakov fell, 6-4, to their Ivy League rivals.
“I think Lev and I started a bit slow,” Bynoe said. “It rained so we had to change focus and play inside, and we came out a bit slow.”
Although Bynoe wasn’t able to pull through in both championships, the weekend provided valuable experience for future tournaments.
“It was a bit nerve-racking and exciting,” he said. “It was a big tournament and big day for me. I think I did decent job staying focused.”
The ability to stay focused was a point of emphasis for Bynoe this summer.
“This summer I played the biggest focus and attitude,” the sophomore said. “I’ve been playing tennis for over 10 years so I know how to hit the ball. The biggest thing was to keep my composure and focus throughout the match.”
Bynoe’s hard work over the summer was clear in his play, especially to head coach Silviu Tanasoiu.
“Evan trained hard this entire summer,” Tanasoiu said. “He invested a lot in his tennis and fitness, and this result is not a surprise to anyone that knows him well. He was able to make some adjustments after his first two rounds. He played his best tennis in the final and that is always a good sign.”
Although no other players for the Red made it to the championship match of their flight, Tanasoiu was happy the team finally got to compete after a long break over the summer.
“The main goal for this week was to compete,” he said. “A lot of our guys did not get to compete throughout this summer. We were looking forward to them getting back in competitive mode. It was good to see them getting three matches this weekend. It was also good to see them competing the way they did, especially in their first round matches.”
The Red will make the trip back to Princeton Oct. 11 for the ITA Northeast Invitational.