On the heels of a successful season opener, the men’s tennis team saw a weekend of mixed performances at the USTA Invitational in Flushing, N.Y.
The highlight of the three-day tournament for the Bulldogs came when Zachary Dean ’13 clinched the “G” singles title and Patrick Chase ’14 and Tommy Ratchford ’14 finished runners-up in the “D” doubles competition. Still, those and other individual successes were balanced against first-round exits by Elis’ “A” doubles pair, Marc Powers ’13 and Daniel Hoffman ’13, and quarterfinal exits in the “A” singles competition by Hoffman and No. 4 seed John Huang ’13.
“Overall I felt we played OK this weekend,” head coach Alex Dorato said in an email. “We had some exceptional moments, but we need to stay at that level consistently before I’d say that we performed at our best.”
Still, as long the team stays fit and healthy, it is shaping up well for the rest of the season, he said. Five of six starting singles players are returning from last year, he explained, and all three freshmen are in contention for a spot in the lineup, so the team will likely have strong depth.
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That sentiment was shared by captain Erik Blumenkranz ’12, who said the performance of lower-seeded players over the weekend boded particularly well for Ivy League play.
For Dean, who powered through the “G” bracket without dropping a set, his 6–4, 6–4 victory over George Washington’s Richard Blumenfeld was the culmination of a weekend in which he said he picked the “correct spots to be aggressive.”
Chase and Ratchford’s double’s pair, meanwhile, fell just short 6–8 against a Brown duo in the final of the “D” bracket.
The good performances by players lower in the lineup showed that people in the team could “step up” when required, Hoffman said.
“This weekend we saw a glimpse of what we are capable of, and of what we are expecting to see more of this season,” Dorato said.
Next weekend five players will head to the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.: Powers, Huang, Hoffman, Blumenkranz and Joel Samaha ’12.
Hoffman, whose “A” doubles pair with Powers failed to close out a match point against their Princeton opponents and lost 8–9 this weekend, said he predicted next week’s tournament will be a “very tough event.”
“If we play great, we’ll have a chance to win some matches, but at the same time, it’ll make for a good experience to play some of the top guys nationally,” he said.
Blumenkranz added that it is useful to play against the top players in the country before returning to Ivy League play.
The ITA All-American Championships kick off with a pre-qualifying round on Saturday and Sunday.