Serving up a new season
The Brandeis men’s tennis team, which was ranked eighth in the country among Division III teams by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, traveled to Minnesota at the end of February to compete in the ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship. The Judges had a solid three days of competition, finishing in fourth place with strong showings against top division and national rivals.
Judges 7, Bears 2
The Judges started off their tournament strong on Feb. 21 with a win against the No. 1-ranked Washington University in St. Louis Bears, who also compete in the University Athletic Association. Brandeis swept doubles play to notch a convincing win over the Bears.
This contest began with a clean sweep of the doubles, giving the Judges an early lead. The duo of Jeffery Chen ’22 and Adam Tzeng ’22 took the first hit against the Bears at No. 2 doubles, easing past their opponents with a quick 8–0 win. Rajan Vohra ’21 and Colt Tegtmeier ’22 took a couple of late service breaks to take the point at No. 3 doubles, overpowering their opponents 8–4. The Judges completed the sweep of the doubles points with a nail-biter at No. 1 doubles. David Aizenberg ’20 and Anupreeth Coramutla ’21 trailed 7–5 when one of their WashU opponents, Benjamin Vanders Sman, went down with an injury. The Judges took advantage of this opening and closed out this tight match in a tiebreaker, taking it 8–7.
Brandeis continued their momentum from doubles play with a strong showing in singles, dropping just two matches, to clinch the win and a spot in the semifinals. The Bears came into the singles strong, taking the score as close as 4–2. Brandeis again got the first win, with Nikhil Das ’21 overpowering WashU’s Sam Komis 6–0 6–1, pulling the Judges ahead 4–0. The Bears took the next two matches at No. 1 singles — with Aizenberg falling short 6–1 6–2 — and at No. 5 — with WashU’s Takabatake toppling Vohra in a hard-fought match with a score of 6–4 6–2. The Judges clinched the match at No. 4 singles, with Chen surging to a 6–4 6–4 victory with a late break in each set. The Judges went on win the remaining matches, with Tzeng at No. 3 and Coramutla at No. 2 coming from behind to win 3–6 6–3 6–0 and 2–6 6–2 6–4 respectively.
Eagles 5, Judges 4
The Judges rode their momentum into the semifinals on Feb. 22 against the No. 1-ranked Emory University Eagles, another UAA rival. In this second match of the tournament, Brandeis fell just short of the win with a hard-fought 4–5 loss.
The Judges took an early lead in doubles with the team of Aizenberg and Coramutla besting their Eagles opponents 8–3 at the No. 1 spot to get the first team point of the match. The No. 2 Brandeis duo of Chen and Tzeng followed with a closer match, edging out their opponents 8–7 (14–12) after a marathon tiebreaker. The Eagles got their first point at No. 3 doubles with a hard-fought 8–7 (7–4) victory over Vohra and Tegtmeier to close the gap to 2–1 with the Judges still ahead heading into singles play.
The Eagles forged ahead with two early singles wins over the Judges. At No. 2 singles, Emory’s Morro bested Coramutla — reversing his fate against Coramutla from doubles — with a score of 6–3 6–3 to even the team score at 2–2. Tzeng also lost his No. 3 singles match with a score of 6–2 7–6 (7–4). The Eagles took the next singles point as well, with their Kenawi taking down Brandeis rookie Simon Kaupilla ’23 at No. 6 singles 7–5 6–1 to put Emory ahead 4–2, just one point from clinching the team win. The remaining three singles matches were all close battles, going to three sets each. Brandeis’ Aizenberg finished first with a 6–2 3–6 6–3 win at No. 1 singles. The last two matches finished at about the same time and the two teams split the final team points with Emory clinching the win. Brandeis’ Das fell 6-7 6-1 6-3 at No. 5 singles, giving the Eagles the win. The Judges took the last point of this close team match, with a win by Chen at No. 4 with a score of 6–4 3–6 7–6 (7–5).
Maroons 6, Judges 3,
In their third match of the weekend, on Feb. 23, the Judges fell to UAA rivals, the No. 4-ranked Maroons from the University of Chicago to take fourth place at the ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship.
For the third match in a row, the Judges finished doubles ahead of their opponent. Chen and Tzeng finished off a perfect tournament at No. 2 doubles with their third win of the weekend, besting their opponents 8–6. At No. 3 doubles, Vohra and Tegtmeier took another team point for the Judges with another 8–6 win. Chicago got the best of Aizenberg and Coramutla 8–6, handing them their first loss of the tournament at No. 1 doubles. The Judges had the lead 2–1 going into the singles matches.
The Maroons took charge of the match in the singles, pulling away from the Judges to take the win. They quickly overtook the Judges in the first three singles matches to finish, notching wins at No. 3 singles with a 6–3 6–2 win versus Tzeng, at No. 5 singles with Das falling 6–0 6–2 and at No. 6 singles with a close 7–5 6–4 score against Brandeis’ Nico Ramirez ’22. Coramutla got the only singles win for the Judges with a hard-fought 7–5 6–2 win at No. 2 singles, before Chicago took the last two matches in three sets. At No. 1, the Maroons edged out Aizenberg, 6–4 1–6 7–5. They consolidated their win with a 5–7 6–4 6–3 win at No. 4 singles, handing Chen his first loss of the tournament.
Overall, the Judges had a solid tournament and finished in fourth place with strong showings against top-ranked UAA opponents.