Freshman Andrew Ball earned a pair of wins at No. 6 singles, including the deciding win over Minnesota (Photo: Dean Bauer).
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Facing off against its third and fourth opponents ranked within the top 40 nationally, the No. 25 Harvard men's tennis team tallied a pair of impressive wins, taking down No. 39 Minnesota, 4-3, and No. 34 Tulsa, 4-3, this weekend at the Baseline Tennis Center. The wins push Harvard's record to 2-2 on the season.
The weekend's action began Saturday for the reigning Ivy champs, taking on the Golden Gophers on their home courts. The hosts came out firing in the doubles portion of the match, knocking off a pair of talented Harvard pairs to claim the first point of the contest. No. 17 Denis Nguyen and Casey MacMaster dropped a 6-4 decision to No. 47 Jack Hamburg and Mathieu Froment, and a loss by Harvard's third team of Conor Haughey and Kelvin Lam gave Minnesota the early edge. The No. 48 team of Nicky Hu and Brian Yeung picked up a win on the second doubles court for Harvard.
Singles featured straight-set victories across the board as No. 81 Shaun Chaudhuri fell 6-2, 6-3 on the second court to give the hosts a 2-0 edge. No. 44 Nguyen got the Crimson on the board with a clean 6-4, 6-4 beating of Leandro Toledo on the first court, and Yeung squared the match at 2-2 with a 6-3, 6-5 (2) win at fourth singles. On the fifth court, Alex Steinroeder gave Harvard its first lead of the day, also needing a second-set tiebreaker to put away his opponent, 6-3, 6-5 (4). Minnesota's Jack Hamburg answered back with a 6-3, 6-5 (5) win over Sebastian Beltrame at No. 3, but it was freshman Andrew Ball who answered the call for the guests, disposing of Jeremy Lynn, 6-3, 6-5 (9) at sixth singles to clinch the dramatic 4-3 final.
Sunday's match against Tulsa started in a similar fashion for the Crimson, as it dropped two of three doubles matches to head into singles play in a 1-0 hole. Steinroeder and Beltrame teamed up for Harvard's lone doubles win, posting a 6-4 win on the third court, but losses on the first and second courts gave Tulsa the opening point of the match.
Ball once again had a strong showing in singles, cruising to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Juan Carvajal at sixth singles, and Steinroeder put the score at 2-1 with a 6-4, 6-5 win over Dylan McCloskey on the fifth court. Yeung couldn't fend off Alejandro Espejo at third singles with a 6-3, 6-4 loss, but Beltrame rallied for a three-set singles win at No. 4, taking down Carlos Bautista, 6-5, 3-6, 6-4.
Chaudhuri once again found himself in a dogfight on the second court, and the junior was unable to close out the third set against Clifford Marsland, falling 6-5, 4-6, 6-3. With the score tied at 3-3, it all came down to Nguyen at first singles, and the junior did not disappoint, powering past 2013 NCAA singles semifinalist Japie De Klerk, 6-5, 5-6, 6-3 to clinch the win for the Crimson.
Harvard is back in action this weekend when it travels to Hanover, N.H., for the ECAC Team Championships, hosted by Dartmouth.