TENNIS | Tough trip to Tulsa for tennis team

Three members of the Yale men’s tennis team participated in the All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.,over the week, sustaining difficult losses against the nation’s top collegiate players.

John Huang ’13, the only Yalie to have entered the singles tournament, lost Monday to Matteo Fago of the Tennessee Volunteers. The doubles team of Erik Blumenkranz ’12 and Joel Samaha ’12 fell to the Tennessee duo of John-Patrick Smith and Rhyne Williams on Thursday.

Marc Powers ’13 was expected to play in the singles competition, but was precluded from doing so by a sudden onset of pneumonia.

Competing in the qualifying tournament, Huang had to win three matches to enter in the main draw.His 6–1, 6–4 defeat at the hands of Fago halted his advancement, but the match proved encouraging to his teammates.

“Despite being injured recently, he played a very close match against a very good player,” Blumenkranz said.

Indeed, Fago, a Tennessee senior and native of Ceprano, Italy, has posted impressive numbers during his tenure with theteam.Last year, Fago earned a stunning 34–9 record and being named to the NCAA Championships All-Tournament Team. In the ITA All-American Qualifying Tournament, Fago reached the round of sixteen.

Considering the circumstances of the tournament, Huang said, there is reason to be heartened by the match.

“It was my first tournament of the year, so it was tough having to play some of the best players in the nation without any previous matches,” Huang said.

The sophomore said he realized the value of high-level competition, and regards the week as a useful early-season test.

“It was really rewarding just to get some matches under my belt,” Huang said.“It was just a lot of fun to play against the best players in college tennis.”

The doubles team of Blumenkranz and Samaha fell 8–3 in what Blumenkranz called “a tough match.”

Going into the tournament, the team was hopeful, but said they refused to be discouraged by the first-round exit.

“We had hoped to win one, but it was still a good experience playing against the best players in the country,” Blumenkranz said.

Coming off a successful weekend in Flushing, N.Y., in which Blumenkranz won the Flight B Singles Tournament, the junior was exposed to competition of an even higher level.

The Tennessee team of Smith and Williams currently occupies the No. 7national ranking for college doubles teams, and Smith arrived at the tournament as the defending champion in both singles and doubles.

Though Powers was unable to contribute due to pneumonia, the illness seems to be only a temporary hurdle for the Yale sophomore.He competed over the weekend in the Army Invitational at West Point, N.Y.

The Army Invitational continued through Sunday, and results were not available at press time.

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