Jason Wu/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Samuel Paquette '24 hits a forehand against Indiana, Reis Tennis Center, Feb. 25, 2023.

March 15, 2023

Men’s Tennis Defeated by SMU

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No. 28 men’s tennis (11-2, 0-0 Ivy) traveled to Dallas last Friday to take on No. 50 Southern Methodist University (9-8, 0-1 American) in a match that exposed some of Cornell’s flaws. 

Cornell has been struggling in doubles all season and, after a few bounceback matches, came crashing back down against SMU. The match began with a quick loss by sophomores Nathan Mao and Adit Sinha at first doubles. However, junior Samuel Paquette and freshman Petar Teodorovic, the most productive duo thus far, equalized for the Red at third with a 6-4 win. 

This left the match up to the Romanian duo of senior Vladislav Melnic and sophomore Radu Papoe, who fell in a tiebreaker to give SMU the point.

Cornell had managed to win despite its poor doubles thus far this year, but with some tough non-conference matchups and the stacked Ivy League schedule approaching, the Red may look to make a change. Sophomore Jack McCarthy, whose 6-foot-4 frame and huge serve seem tailor-made for doubles, could be an option, although he failed to make a difference at the start of the season when paired with the similarly massive Melnic. 

On the other side, singles did not start out much better, with Sinha falling 6-1 6-2 in an almost inexplicably quick match. Then, Melnic lost 6-1, 6-1, giving the Mustangs a 3-0 lead. 

The rest of the afternoon was much more competitive, with every match going the full three sets. Despite this, the Red was defeated in the first of these three setters to finish, as Teodorovic lost the third after a second set comeback, mathematically ending the match as SMU reached the necessary four points to win. 

Although matches are often canceled early in NCAA tennis when one side wins the overall contest, the teams chose to play the rest of them out. Papoe, who recently rose to No. 81 in the singles rankings, won his match by forfeit after a second set tiebreak loss to Adam Neff, before Nathan Mao gutted out a third set tiebreak to give the Red its second point. Teodorovic finished the day off with a three-set loss, ending the match 5-2.

Cornell will travel to State College, Pennsylvania to take on No. 60 Penn State on Saturday at noon. The match can be streamed on Playsight.