Jason Wu/Sun Senior Editor

The Red lose 6-1 in its final match of the regular season.

May 1, 2023

Men’s Tennis Concludes Season With Loss to Columbia

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No. 40 men’s tennis (17-6, 4-3 Ivy) concluded what has been a disappointing in-conference season with a loss to No. 13 Columbia (19-3, 6-1 Ivy) on April 29. The match highlighted some of the Red’s largest weaknesses this season and may have been costly in their quest for an NCAA tournament bid this season.

As always, the match started out in doubles, which has been Cornell’s achilles heel so far this season. The Red has kept the lineup very static so far despite their struggles but elected to switch it up against Columbia, introducing the pairing of sophomore doubles specialist Jack McCarthy and freshman Aman Sharma. Although the two have been excellent in singles recently, they were not able to secure a positive result this time. 

The match at second doubles was the first to finish, as freshman Petar Teodorovic and junior Samuel Paquette quickly fell to Nicolas Kotzen and Max Westphal of Columbia, 6-2. McCarthy and Sharma didn’t fare much better at third doubles, losing 6-3. This rendered a strong performance by the sophomore duo of Adit Sinha and Nathan Mao null, and Columbia took the doubles point. 

The styles of play of Cornell’s tennis athletes may have impacted their success. The vast majority of Cornell starters are baseliners — favoring patient, defensive play and using consistent groundstrokes rather than attacking the net and winning points quickly. The latter strategy often proves beneficial for doubles, however, as a large percentage of doubles play takes place at the net.

Mao, the one Cornell starter who bucks this trend, was the only Red competitor to pick up a win last weekend. Mao utilizes a huge left-handed serve to set up his strong volleys, finishing points decisively. He used this strategy to great effect on Saturday, taking down Kotzen 7-5, 6-2. 

Across the rest of the lineup, Cornell was soundly beaten. Sinha, Teodorovic, No. 75 sophomore Radu Papoe and senior Vladislav Melnic all fell in straight sets. Sharma was able to battle back from a first set loss to win the second, but lost in the third, leading Columbia to win the match by a score of 6-1. 

Saturday’s match leaves Cornell with a conference record of 4-3, good for fourth in the Ivy League. 

With Cornell’s regular season now finished, the team will face No. 22 Auburn in the first round of the NCAA Team Championships on Saturday, May 6 at 11 a.m. in Durham, North Carolina.