No. 40 men’s tennis (15-5, 2-2 Ivy) was on the road for two conference matchups over the weekend and split the pair. After a difficult loss at the hands of No. 10 Harvard (17-5, 5-0 Ivy), Cornell swept Dartmouth (11-12, 1-4 Ivy) to even its conference record at 2-2.
The Red struggled in its first contest against the Crimson. The match started out in doubles, where Harvard has been very strong all year.
Daniel Milavsky and Harris Walker, the Crimson’s duo at first doubles, are ranked No. 60, and showed their skill by defeating sophomores Nathan Mao and Adit Sinha, 6-2. Harvard’s second team, Ronan Jachuck and Steven Sun, took down senior Vladislav Melnic and sophomore Radu Papoe 6-3 to quickly earn the doubles point.
At singles, Cornell also failed to be competitive. Despite Papoe, Sinha and Mao all winning the first sets of their matches, Melnic, freshmen Aman Sharma and Petar Teodorovic all fell in straight sets to mathematically end the matchup in Harvard’s favor.
This scoreline robbed the fans of a marquee matchup, as Papoe, on a seven match win streak and ranked No. 86, faced No. 30 Henry von der Schurle. After Papoe’s first set win, Harvard had a slight advantage in the second, but the match was called early.
Facing off against Dartmouth the next day, it was Cornell’s turn to dominate. Mao and Sinha came out firing, taking their doubles match 6-3, and despite another loss at second doubles, Teodorovic and junior Samuel Paquette won at third doubles to earn a much needed point for the Red.
Singles was close to perfect for Cornell, as it won four of the six remaining matches in straight sets. Sharma and Sinha were particularly dominant, and Teodorovic and Mao had no trouble dispatching their opponents, taking Cornell over the four point threshold and ending the match.
The teams elected to play out the rest of the matchups, and Papoe took home his eighth singles win in a row in a tiebreak after dropping a tight second set. Cornell’s only loss on the day came when Melnic, who has struggled at the second spot in recent weeks, fell to Henry Ren of the Big Green. Cornell finished the match with a much needed 6-1 win.
At 2-2, Cornell finds itself in the middle of the Ivy League standings. However, with matchups against two of the weaker teams in the conference coming up, a top three finish is not out of the question. Members of the team, including Sharma, emphasized the importance of an aggressive mentality down the stretch.
“I think the most important thing as a team is to keep hunting every match,” Sharma said. “Most importantly, we need to keep staying tough mentally and maintain our composure to finish the season strong.”
Next weekend, Cornell’s home season comes to an end with two matches at Reis Tennis Center. On Saturday, April 22, the Red takes on Brown (13-13, 0-4 Ivy) before facing Yale (11-8, 1-3 Ivy) on Sunday, April 23. Both matches will take place at 1 p.m.