Men’s Tennis Competes at ITAs
Issue   |   Tue, 10/04/2016 - 22:38
Amherst Athletics
Anton Zykov ‘17 made deep runs in both the doubles and singles brackets.

In the team’s first competitive action of the season, Amherst men’s tennis demonstrated their immense potential this past weekend at the ITA Regional Championships. The purple and white had four participants in singles action, all four of who made the round of 32, and three doubles teams, two of which made it all the way to the Elite Eight.

In singles action, three of the team’s four entries were seeded, with Anton Zykov ’17 garnering the number two overall seed and both Oscar Burney ’20 and Josh Marchalik ’20 managing top-15 rankings. Zykov, Burney, Marchalik and Jon Heidenberg ’19 all easily swept aside their first round opponents, with Burney’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory the only one that went to three sets.

Heidenberg was the first member of the purple and white to bow out of the competition, losing 6-4, 6-3 to Brian Grodecki of Williams. The other three members of the purple and white marched on to the round of 16, with both Zykov and Burney handily winning by identical scores of 6-1, 6-1. Although Marchalik was pushed to a first-set tie break by Rohan Shastri of Williams, he managed to win the tightly-contested tie break 7-5 and slammed the door on Shastri in the second set for a 7-6(5), 6-2 win.

Marchalik and Burney both kept the momentum rolling for the purple and white in the next round, as the two promising first-years both defeated opponents from Bowdoin. Zykov’s run in the tournament ended, however, when he lost to Deepak Indrakanti of Williams in a 6-2, 6-2 affair. Meanwhile, Burney’s impressive run was cut short in the Elite Eight, where he fell in a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 heartbreaker to Michale Arguello, Brandeis’s eventual runner up.

Marchalik kept winning though, as he defeated his quarterfinal opponent by a score of 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, a victory that brought him all the way to the tournament’s semifinals. There his magical run came to an end, when the eventual tournament champion, Lubomir Cuba from Middlebury, downed Marchalik by a score of 6-2, 6-2.

On the double’s courts, the purple and white also faired incredibly well. Each of the team’s three entries for the tournament entered as a top-15 seed and, as such, each was awarded a first-round bye. Although the team of Nathan Kaplan ’20 and Jayson Fung ’20, fell in their round of 32 match to a MIT duo, the other pairings of Burney and Zach Bessette ’20 and Zykov and Marchalik dominated their matchups, posting victories of 8-3 and 8-1 respectively.

The two remaining Amherst teams continued their dominance in the round of 16. Bessette and Burney notched a second consecutive 8-3 victory, this time over a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while Zykov and Marchalik advanced after toughing out an 8-6 over Wesleyan’s number 12-seeded duo of Lyon and Roberts.

The quarterfinals proved to be the limit of Amherst’s doubles teams’ ability, as both pairings ran up against NESCAC foes, opposing pairs that proved to be too good for the young purple and white duos. Zykov and Marchalik fell 8-2 to the eventual champions, Wolfe and Jiang from Bowdoin. Bessette and Burney performed slightly better; only losing 8-4 to the eighth-seeded team from Williams.

The team looks to improve upon last weekend’s dominance when they travel to Dartmouth College this coming weekend, where they’ll participate in the three-day Dartmouth Tournament.