Hoping to bounce back from a winless spring break tour, the men’s tennis team lost 5-2 in a disappointing match with the Brown Bears (13-2, 1-0 Ivy) Saturday in its Ivy League opener.
The Bulldogs (5-8, 0-1) managed two points against the nationally ranked No. 39 Bears at home when singles No. 2 Andrew Rosenfeld ’04 and No. 5 Rowan Reynolds ’06 defeated their singles opponents. The Elis proved unable to win any of the three doubles matches, reaffirming a seasonlong trend: the team that wins the doubles point wins the match.
Rosenfeld said his match, which he won 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, was decided by the serve and his decision to go after his opponent.
“I got off to a nervous start — and I needed a little more aggression to win,” Rosenfeld said. “The key to men’s tennis is serving, and I kinda took care of business there.”
The rest of the team was saddened and surprised by the Brown loss, Rosenfeld said, especially because the Elis felt they were ready to beat the defending Ivy League champion Bears.
“We were pretty upset, because we spent a lot of time preparing ourselves to believe we can win,” he said. “It was disheartening to lose after coming into the match believing.”
Reynolds, who competed alongside Rosenfeld in No. 1 doubles before the singles matches, said the Bulldog roster finally was healthy for perhaps the first time this year, and he entered the match with high hopes for his doubles team unit.
“[Rosenfeld and I] felt pretty good going in — we had everyone back — and we played a pretty high-ranked team and did pretty well,” Reynolds said. “We lost 8-5, but they only got one break, and we just couldn’t get that break back.”
In his No. 5 singles match with Brown junior Ben Brier, Reynolds said he played some of his best tennis of the season against a solid player.
“[Brier] doesn’t really have a big weapon, but he puts pressure on you,” Reynolds said.
Rosenfeld said Harvard and Brown will be the most dangerous Ivy League title contenders the Bulldogs face.
Reynolds said he feels inspired by the lessons learned Saturday to go out and beat Princeton (11-5, 2-0) Friday. After just two weeks of Ivy League play, the Tigers sit atop of league standings.
“Brown was a good test to see where we are,” he said. “We’ve found that sometimes in the middle of those three-setter matches, we’ve got to go that extra distance.”
Had the third sets of two matches gone differently, the Bulldogs would have beaten Brown this weekend, Rowans said.
The Bulldogs do not expect the Tigers’ match to be any tougher than the Bears contest.
“We know the players on all of these teams; we’ve been playing them for years,” Rosenfeld said. “Princeton is no better than Brown. In fact, they’re probably a little worse.”