Harvard Men's Tennis Opens Dual-Match Schedule With Harvard Kick Off

Harvard Men's Tennis Opens Dual-Match Schedule With Harvard Kick Off

Harvard will look to the big serve of Casey MacMaster, who will team with Alistair Felton as one of the Crimson's top doubles pairings during this weekends dual-match action. (Gil Talbot)

The Particulars
Harvard hosts Depaul, Denver, and Drake on Jan. 27-28 for a slate of dual matches. All-four teams will play each other over the two-day span. This tournament will kick-off Harvard's dual-meet schedule.

Last Time Out
Harvard hosted its final tournament of the season this past weekend (Jan. 21-23) welcoming Marist and Fordham to the Murr Center tennis courts. The three-day event included doubles and singles action the first two days (Friday and Saturday) while Sunday was devoted to singles play.

Henry Steer was named the tournament champion in singles competition going 3-0 throughout the event. Denis Nguyen (also 3-0) was singles runner-up. In doubles competition, the 45 ranked team according to ITA rankings Casey MacMaster and Alistair Felton were named the doubles champion,  while "Team Nguyen" (Andy and Denis) were  runner up. Harvard went a combined 21-3 in singles and 10-2 in doubles action.

Scouting The Competition
The Blue Demons head into this weekend having won its last four dual matches defeating UIC (7-0), Detroit (7-0), Toledo (5-2) and Purdue (4-3). Depaul's most lethal players are George Chanturia and Filip Dzanko who are a combined 8-0 in the one and two spots. Meanwhile the duo is undefeated in doubles action playing from the one spot.

The Bulldogs are coming off a successful tournament its last time out as it captured a school-record tying eight titles on the final day of the State Farm MVC Individuals on Sunday (Jan. 22) at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.

Robin Goodman and Alen Salisbasic earned the Bulldogs' first title beating Illinois State's Jordan Badenko and Willi Peter 8-3. Ani Ghorbel and Cesar Bracho added another. Joanthan Hadash, James McKie, and Jean Erasmus also tallied tournament crowns.

The Pioneers enter the weekend with 1-1 record having opened with a win against Tulane and a loss against Texas Tech. Denver has seen solid production out of Enej Bonin and Jens Vorkefeld as Bonin is 1-1 from the one spot and Vorkfeld is 2-0 from the three position. Likewise the tandem has a 2-0 record in doubles action.

History Lesson:
When looking at the history between Harvard and these three schools there havn't been many matches played but Harvard holds the advantage with all three. Harvard holds a 1-0 record against Denver after defeating them in the Hilton Valley Spring Classic last season, defeating the Pioneers 4-3. The Crimson is 1-0 against DePaul defeating them 4-1 at the 2010 Harvard Kick Off and Harvard maintains a 2-1 advantage over Drake beating them in the NCAA tournament in 1992, 5-4, and again at the 2009 ITA Kickoff Weekend 4-3. The Blue Demons recorded its lone win against the Crimson with a 4-0 decision over Harvard in 2010.

And They're Off!
If there is one thing that you can say about Harvard men's tennis under head coach Dave Fish it is that it doesn't waste any time in getting its first dual-match victory. In his 34 years, Harvard is 29-9 during its first dual-match of the season.

Fresh Perspective
The class of 2015 could end up being one of the most successful classes for Harvard men's tennis when all is said and done. So far this season the contributions of the freshman class has been resounding as Alex Steinroeder, Denis Nguyen and now Henry Steer have all produced for the Crimson. Steinroeder has a tournament win to his credit while Nguyen has been a runner up twice and now Steer has earned himself a tournament crown.

Team Work
In the latest edition of ITA rankings, posted on Jan. 3, the doubles team of Alistair Felton and Casey MacMaster were recognized as the 45th ranked team in the country. The tandem advanced to the ITA Northeast Regional finals and has recorded a 5-2 record as a duo and most recently were named the Harvard Winter Invite champions regiestering a  2-0 record at the event.