After a nearly two-week break from competition, select members of the Cornell men’s tennis team headed out to Philadelphia to compete in the ITA Northeast Regional Championships on Oct. 17. The biggest star of the weekend was senior Pietro Rimondini, who turned in great performances in singles as well as doubles.
Rimondini began his campaign for the Red in the main draw of the singles bracket. In the first round, he looked to defeat a familiar Ivy League opponent in Princeton’s Kabir Sarita. After dismantling Sarita in the first set, Rimondini pulled out a close victory in the following frame to win, 6-0, 7-6.
The senior continued to roll into the second round, where he faced Dartmouth’s Dan Martin. Rimondini dropped the first set, but that was all that he would let up in his 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 win. He continued his singles tournament with two more victories against Ignacio Garcia of St. John’s, 6-4, 6-4, and Penn’s Jason Hildebrant, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
His four singles victories were the best among the Cornell participants, and it landed him in the quarterfinals, a tremendous accomplishment considering that many top collegiate players were in attendance.
Teaming up with Rimondini in the doubles bracket was fellow senior Rohan Sikka. The veteran duo performed well over the weekend, earning two big victories. In the first round, they took on the No. 9 seed from Boston College, Derek Austin and Sean Mullins. The Cornell pair handily defeated their counterparts, 8-1. Next, they faced St. John’s Charlie James and Ignacio Garcia, a matchup in which they pulled out a close 9-8(3) victory.
Sikka also played well in the singles bracket, earning one victory over Juan Manuel Sanchez of Drexel, 7-5, 6-3.
Further in the doubles bracket, junior Eero Vasa and freshman Vladislav Melnic played together and earned an upset win against one of the field’s top teams. Fairfield’s Kaya Gore and Jonathan Olive-Blanco, the No. 3 seed, fell to the Red by a score of 8-6.
Not only were Vasa and Melnic strong in doubles, but they found success in the singles bracket, each earning two victories. Vasa defeated Penn’s Max Cancilla, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and also beat Austin, 7-5, 6-1. Meanwhile, Melnic beat John Speicher of Dartmouth, 6-2, 7-6(5) and Columbia’s Austen Huang 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5.
Rounding out the weekend for the Red were senior Joseph McAllister and junior Evan Bynoe who also had two wins in doubles. Facing off against Niclas Pietsch and Ivan Solans of Fairleigh-Dickinson, they won, 8-5, and then faced Alexander Hammit and Sanil Jagtiani of Drexel. The Red won, 8-4.
The next event for the team will take place on Oct. 28 in Naples, Florida for the M25 Pro Circuit futures event. Vasa and Melnic will represent the Red with both hoping to improve upon their last M25 performance in Oklahoma earlier this season.