Brian Yeung secured the 4-3 win for Harvard Friday with a win at fourth singles (Photo: Dean Bauer).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite beginning singles play with a 1-0 deficit, the Harvard men's tennis team showed its strength in singles, taking four of six courts, including freshman Brian Yeung's match-clinching win at No. 4, to down No. 29 Northwestern, 4-3, Friday night at the Murr Center. The Crimson improves to 5-3 on the season with the win while Northwestern slips to 8-4.
The Crimson actually faced a 2-0 deficit against the talented Wildcats squad, as junior Shaun Chaudhuri fell to Sam Shropshire, 6-1, 6-3, in the second singles position. Freshman Andrew Ball quickly got Harvard on the board with a straight-set victory of his own, however, disposing of Fedor Baev, 6-4, 6-2, in the sixth singles match. No. 41 Denis Nguyen continued his stellar dual season, blasting past Northwestern's top player Raleigh Smith, 7-6, 6-2, to knot the match at 2-2.
From that point on, it was all three-set matches and the hosts had to dig deep to defend their home turf. Freshman Sebastian Beltrame was the first to finish, tapering off in his match against Mihir Kumar after a 6-3 victory in the first set. Kumar battled back to take the second, 6-4, and picked up multiple breaks in the third to secure a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over the Crimson rookie at third singles. Next up it was junior Alex Steinroeder who, after breezing to a 6-1 win in the opening set, found himself in a three-set match with a 5-7 defeat in the second set. Steinroeder regained his composure and put away Alp Horoz on the fifth court, sealing a 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 win to knot the match score for a second time.
It all came down to Yeung battling Strong Kirchheimer on the fourth singles court. The resilient rookie shook off a 6-3 loss in the opening set and powered to a decisive 6-1 win in the second. Riding an enthusiastic crowd, Yeung showed poise beyond his freshman status, polishing off the win with a 7-6 score in the final set to seal the victory for the Crimson.
The double point slid to the Wildcats to start the match, thanks to a pair of 8-6 victories on the first and third courts. Yeung and sophomore Nicky Hu were Harvard's lone doubles winners, taking down Shropshire and Horoz, 8-7, at No. 2.
The Crimson gets one day off before it faces another top-30 team, as it hosts No. 22 Memphis in the first half of a Sunday doubleheader. Harvard will take on local foe Boston University following the match against Memphis.