Men’s tennis serves up two more wins

By
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The men’s tennis team added two more wins to its record (12-4) after sweeping Fairleigh Dickinson University, 7-0, on Saturday and trouncing Marquette, 6-1, on Monday.

The Bears were happy to have captains Chris Lee ’09 and Noah Gardner ’09 back in the lineup after having to fill the gaps left last week when the players were injured.

“Going into the Fairleigh Dickinson match, my legs felt extremely tight,” said Gardner, who suffered a full body cramp last week against Binghamton. “This is the end of the winter part of the season, where I’ve been particularly susceptible to injury. I’m also battling with a shoulder problem. But it was very good for me to play both against Fairleigh Dickinson and Marquette. I was by no means 100 percent, but as long as you’re not making things worse, it’s good to get on the court and work on what you can control.”

Brown 7, Fairleigh-Dickinson 0

The Bears made winning look easy Saturday as they swept doubles matches against the Knights to jump to a 1-0 lead. Gardner and captain Sam Garland ’09 led the way at first doubles, defeating Matt Gordon and Andrew Denny by a score of 8-6. Meanwhile, at third doubles, Skate Gorham ’10 and Charlie Posner ’11 wrapped up their victory against Alex Jorne and Markus Bolinder by an identical 8-6 score.

“Charlie, who rotates with (Kendrick Au ’11) at the third doubles spot, is playing some very skilled and smart doubles,” Gardner said. “Those two guys make everything easier with the tremendous depth they provide.”

At second doubles, Lee and Jonathan Pearlman ’11 overpowered Marco Jermersic and Ankesh Bhargava, 8-4.

“Fairleigh-Dickinson was a good match for us,” Gardner said. “Our doubles held up nicely, and everyone played smart enough to win in singles.”

Pearlman earned a 6-3, 6-4 win over Gordon at first singles and Gorham overwhelmed Denny at second singles with a score of 6-2, 6-2.

“I was particularly proud of Skate,” Gardner said. “He’s been doing some pretty exceptional work in terms of how consistent he is.”

At third singles, Gardner won the first set in a tiebreaker, then dropped the second set before triumphing in the third-set super-breaker for a final score of 7-6, 5-7, 1-0.

“It was great to see Noah step up and win his match with a tiebreaker,” said Assistant Coach Nestor Bernabe.

Garland also battled through a tiebreaker in the fourth singles match, notching a 6-3, 7-6 win. At fifth singles, Au trounced Diego Benavent, 6-2, 6-1, and at sixth singles, Jimmy Crystal ’12 soundly defeated Dominic Hemy by a score of 6-3, 6-3.

Brown 6, Marquette 1

The Bears had a “great Sunday night practice” before their Monday match against the Golden Eagles, Bernabe said.

“The team came out and played great against Marquette,” he said. “Sunday’s practice was a high energy, very intense practice. We worked out some things that might become an issue in our upcoming matches, and it paid off against Marquette in a very big way.”

The Bears clinched the doubles point with wins at second and third doubles. Lee and Pearlman defeated Stephen Shao and Dusan Medan, 8-5, at second doubles, while Au and Gorham edged out Mark Rutherford and Jonathan Schwerin for a 9-8 victory at third doubles.

“It’s the second time this year that Kendrick has clinched a doubles point in a tiebreaker, and that says a lot about a guy playing his first year in the doubles lineup,” Gardner said. “He’s improving so much. I wish I had a couple more years here to see where it all takes him.”

Gardner and Garland dropped the first doubles match by a score of 8-5, but the victories at second and third doubles were enough to give Brown a 1-0 lead.

“We had a huge win in doubles,” Garland said. “We all came into the singles feeling very motivated. We also had Chris Lee back (in the singles lineup), which is an enormous presence on court.”

At first singles, Pearlman took a 6-3, 7-5 win over Trent Hagan. At second singles, Lee outlasted Medan in three sets for a final score of 6-3, 4-6, 7-6.

“Chris Lee clinched the match with a ridiculous running forehand winner,” Gorham said. “It felt good having our typical starting lineup against Marquette with Chris back in singles, and his addition to the team was obvious.”

Bernabe agreed, saying, “It was a great match to see a senior step up, play and win in a huge moment. He did his trademark Roger Craig – old 49ers running back – high knees after the match when his opponent’s volley went long,” he said.

Gorham also had a three-set battle at third singles, but he ultimately fell to Niko Boulieris, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

“In singles play against Marquette, everyone played at a high level,” Gorham said. “Although I took a loss at singles in a close three-set match, everyone else won and played great.”

At fourth singles, Garland overpowered Shao, 6-2, 6-3.

“Sam’s consistency and aggressiveness completely wore his opponent down and shut down a big part of their team,”

Gardner said.

Gardner and Au defeated their opponents at fifth and sixth singles, respectively, by identical scores of 6-3, 7-6.

“This was a great team match,” Bernabe said. “Our doubles is becoming a solid foundation, and the singles are coming together. The Marquette match was the first match where we had guys that could come in off the bench if needed. It was the first time that everyone was healthy to play.”

Brown will compete against Bryant on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at home. The Bears are also setting their sights on matches the following week against the University of Portland and Wake Forest, which Bernabe called “solid teams.”

“It is clear that our games are getting sharper, which is good news going into some matches against some good teams,”

Gorham said.