Denis Nguyen is Harvard's first All-American since 2005 (photo: Bill Kallenberg).
NCAA Men's Singles Bracket
Video: Nguyen Fires An Ace on Match Point In The Quarterfinals
ATHENS, Ga. – Junior Denis Nguyen of the Harvard men's tennis team saw his historic NCAA tournament run come to a close Sunday, dropping a three-set match in the semifinals of the men's singles draw. Nguyen took the first set from Pepperdine's Alex Sarkissian, but fell in the second and third in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 final.
Nguyen, an at-large selection to the NCAA tournament, earned All-America accolades, becoming Harvard's first All-American since Jonathan Chu '05 (singles and doubles) and Ashwin Kumar '08 (doubles) in 2005. Chu advanced to the semifinals of the 2005 men's singles bracket, while James Blake made Harvard's deepest run in the modern era, earning a berth in the NCAA championship match in 1999.
A quartet of straight-set victories was testament to Nguyen's dominant play in this year's bracket. The junior started the tournament by taking down Lloyd Glasspool of Texas, 6-4, 6-3, and officially earned All-America status with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Duke's Fred Saba. Andrew Adams of South Carolina was Nguyen's Round of 16 opponent, and Nguyen played a near flawless second set in an impressive, 6-4, 6-1 victory. In Saturday's quarterfinal, Nguyen continued to control the pace of play, acing Florida's Florent Diep on match point to seal a 6-2, 6-2 triumph.
"I think we've seen this potential in Denis from the beginning," says his head coach Dave Fish '72. "This year he has really grown into his game and throughout the season, he has shown this enormous capacity. Playing here has given him the opportunity to see match after match how good his game is. He's shored up his technical weaknesses and controls the match tempo beautifully. Every one of these matches is like climbing a mountain, but he's having fun climbing."
Nguyen also competed in the NCAA doubles draw with partner Casey MacMaster, and the duo narrowly dropped a three-set thriller to UCLA's Marcos Giron and Mackenzie McDonald, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-6 (6), in the opening round of the tournament.