M. TENNIS: Super Powers

Marc Powers ’13 led the way for an impressive performance by the men’s tennis team at Regionals this past week.

At the ITA Northeast Regional Championships in Hanover, N.H., the Bulldogs excelled in singles play, with Powers making it all the way to the finals of the 128-person tournament. John Huang ’13 and Calvin Bennett ’11 reached the round of 16, and Connor Dawson ’10 made it to the round of 32. Powers and Dawson defeated two seeded teams to advance to the semifinals of the doubles tournament.

Coach Alex Dorato said he was pleased with the team’s performance, especially Powers’ singles play.

“Powers had an incredible run,” Dorato said. “I’ve never had a freshman do so well before.”

Despite being unseeded, Powers cruised through to the finals, beating five straight seeded players. In the quarterfinals, he fought off no. 3 seed Mihai Nichifor of Columbia, winning 2–6, 7–6(4), 6–2. In a tough three-set finals match, Powers fell to no. 4 seed Sven Vloedgraven of Binghamton, who prevailed 4–6, 6–0, 6–2. Powers made it the furthest out of all the Ivy League players in the tournament.

“I was very happy with the way I performed,” Powers said. “This is the kind of game I’m going to need to be more successful in college tennis.”

Huang, who was unseeded, and Bennett defeated the No. 16 and 17 seeds, respectively, before falling in the round of 16. Huang lost a close three-set match to another no. 17 seed, Columbia’s Haig Schneiderman, 6–2, 6–7(4), 6–4, and Bennett fell to Nichifor, 6–3, 6–3. No. 10 seed Dawson made it to the round of 32, while Erik Blumenkranz ’12 lost a close tiebreaker in the first round of play.

Dawson, the team captain, said that having so many players in the main draw shows the depth of Yale’s team. Powers also acknowledged that all the players have a consistently high skill level.

“Any of the kids on the team could have been where I was,” he said.

The team of Dawson and Powers fared well in the doubles tournament, continuing the trend of upsetting seeded teams. They defeated the no. 5 team from Princeton 8–4 in the round of 16 and the no. 4 seed from Columbia 8–6 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Dawson and Powers fell 8–5 to Alabama’s Alistair Felton and Andy Nguyen. Felton and Nguyen eventually won the doubles tournament.

The double’s teams of Bennett and Huang, and Blumenkranz and Daniel Hoffman ’13 also competed in the tournament but lost in the first round of play.

Despite Powers’ and Dawson’s success this week, both Dawson and Dorato said the team needs to improve its doubles play.

“We need to have all three doubles duos playing well to have a successful spring dual match season,” Dorato said.

Yale hosts the Connecticut State Championships on Oct. 31 and the Wilson/ITA Nationals Tournament from Nov. 5-8. As host, Yale’s team will receive two singles bids and one doubles bid automatically.

Correction: October 21, 2009

The original version of this article contained two errors. First, Marc Powers ’13 defeated Mihai Nichifor of Columbia in the quarterfinals not the semifinals. Second, Calvin Bennett ’11 was, in fact, seeded.

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