PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – In its closest Ivy League match this season, the No. 19 Harvard men's tennis team withstood a strong challenge from Penn, downing the Quakers, 4-3, Sunday in a road league matchup. Harvard ups its record to 16-4 on the year and 4-0 in Ivy play, while extending its current winning streak to 11 matches.
A constant during the 11-match winning streak has been doubles play, as Harvard has claimed the doubles point in each of its last 11 victories. Harvard got off to a strong start again Sunday, but needed to dig deep to secure its 11th straight doubles point. The No. 2 tandem of Nicky Hu and Andy Nguyen put Harvard at an early deficit, dropping an 8-5 decision to Vim De Alwis and Zach Katz. Shortly thereafter, the guests drew even thanks to a decisive 8-4 victory on the third court by Kelvin Lam and Alex Steinroeder. The top team of Denis Nguyen and Casey MacMaster were pushed to the edge, fending off a handful of match points and forcing a tiebreaker to decide the match. Strong serving in the breaker saw the Crimson seal the win with a 9-8 (3) victory to earn the first team point of the match.
Singles play was also hotly contested with three of the six matches going to three sets. Andy Nguyen continued his dominance on the fourth court, disposing of Blaine Willenborg, 6-3, 6-1, to put Harvard at a 2-0 match lead. The Crimson's top player, Denis Nguyen, pushed the match score to 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Nikola Kocovic.
Penn fought back to gain its first point of the match when Zach Katz took down Hu at No. 5, 7-5, 7-5. The first of the three-set matches to wrap up went in Harvard's favor, as sophomore Shaun Chaudhuri polished off a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win over Jeremy Court at second singles to seal the match for the guests. The final two matches went the way of the Quakers, with Nicholas Mahlangu dropping a 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 final to De Alwis and Steinroeder falling, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Ismael Lahlou at No. 3.
Ivy play continues for the Crimson Friday when it hosts Brown in a 2 p.m., match at Beren Tennis Center.
Harvard 4, Penn 3
1. Denis Nguyen/Casey MacMaster (H) def. Austin Kaplan/Nikola Kocovic (P); 9-8(3)
2. Vim De Alwis/Zach Katz (P) def. Nicky Hu/Andy Nguyen (H); 8-5
3. Kelvin Lam/Alex Steinroeder (H) def. Jeremy Court/Blaine Willenborg (P); 8-4
1. D. Nguyen (H) def. Kocovic (P); 6-3, 6-4
2. Shaun Chaudhuri (H) def. Court (P); 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
3. Ismael Lahlou (P) def. Steinroeder (H); 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. A. Nguyen (H) def. Willenborg (P); 6-3, 6-1
5. Katz (P) def. Hu (H); 7-5, 7-5
6. De Alwis (P) def. Nicholas Mahlangu (H); 2-6, 7-6, 6-1