Split between Virginia and New Jersey, the men’s tennis team showcased its depth and opened the fall season with several strong performances.
While Brandon Wai ’07 was at the University of Virginia Fall Invitational, the rest of the Elis competed at the Farnsworth/Princeton Invitational last weekend in Princeton, N.J. and came away with a pair of titles.
Milosz Gudzowski ’06 led the Elis in singles play, winning the consolation bracket, while Joe Vellanikaran ’08 advanced to the finals of the consolation B bracket. Rookies Jeff Dawson ’09 and Josh Lederman ’09 demonstrated that they are adjusting well to the college level of play, teaming up to win the B doubles final.
Gudzowski said the tournament went well even though the team had only been practicing for two weeks.
“Over the summer, I didn’t play too much tennis but I … was able to concentrate a lot better,” Gudzowski said. “I played some really clean matches. I was really happy.”
Gudzowski had plenty of reasons to be happy. In his final match of the weekend, he beat Columbia’s Michael Accordino in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6.
Vellanikaran played well to get to the final, where he faced off against another Lion, Jake Feldman. But the Eli sophomore fell short, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The Yale freshmen may have been the most positive aspect to come out of the Farnsworth. Dawson and Lederman had little time to adapt to each other’s on-court styles, but they figured out how to work together as the tournament wore on.
“These kids are being recruited and you’ve got to be ready to play for every match,” Dawson said. “It was close, but we really focused and played good tennis.”
In the finals, Dawson and Lederman won 8-5 — a victory that points to good things to come for the young Elis.
“We’re expecting a lot from them,” Gudzowski said. “They have potential to contribute to the team. They’re really good and extremely intense. In just the few weeks we’ve practiced with them, we’ve realized they’re really good.”
Down in Virginia, Wai won two matches in the A singles back draw — including a three-set victory over No. 57 Andreas Siljestrom of Middle Tennessee State — after dropping his first match.
“My goal was basically to beat someone that was ranked,” Wai said. “That’s what I wanted to do. Luckily I got it done.”
The Bulldogs, Wai included, return to action next weekend at the ECAC Team Championships in New York.
“Everyone’s so talented and we got a great group of guys,” Wai said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how we do.”