Men’s Tennis Takes Three of Top Four Doubles Places at MIT Invite
Issue   |   Fri, 10/20/2017 - 02:14
Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios
Oliver Kendall ‘19 was one of eight Amherst entrants in the MIT singles bracket, losing in the first round.

Continuing the momentum from their strong showing at the New England Regional Championship, Amherst men’s tennis had a great weekend at the MIT Invitational led by Zach Bessette ’19 and the doubles pair of Jayson Fung ’20 and Ethan Hillis ’21.

In the singles competition, Amherst represented three of the top fifteen seeds, with No. 5 seed Bessette, No. 11 Kevin Ma ’21 and No. 15 Sean Wei ’21. All three advanced to at least the round of 16, where they were joined by fellow Mammoth Nathan Kaplan ’20.

Bessette’s journey started off with straight-set victories over Rajan Vohra of Brandeis and Wesleyan’s Zach Fleischman. After a tight 6-1, 7-5 win over Calvin Chung of Williams to advance to the quarterfinals, Bessette lost a heartbreaker to Alex Taylor, the 14th seed from Williams, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4).

Ma, Wei and Kaplan cruised through their first two matches before they fell to higher seeded opponents. Ma lost to No. 1 seed Steve Chen of Wesleyan, while Kaplan lost to eighth seeded Austin Barr from Williams. Wesleyan’s Andrew Finkelman advanced over Wei.

Amherst’s remaining singles entrants, Fung, Hillis and Oliver Kendall ’19, were all defeated in the first round. In the consolation bracket, Hillis progressed to the finals before losing against Middlebury’s Timo van der Geest.

The Mammoths demonstrated their talent with a strong showing in the doubles tournament. Only three Amherst pairs competed, but all three advanced to the semifinals, with the duo of Fung and Hillis reaching the championship match.

Their tournament began with a difficult matchup against the top seeded pair of Noah Farrell and Peter Martin from Middlebury. Fung and Hillis, however, won 8-5 before rolling through their next two matches. This set up a meeting in the semifinals with Bessette and Ma, seeded fourth, who had handily defeated pairs from NESCAC opponents Tufts and Bowdoin.

Wei and Kaplan joined the other two pairs in the semifinals after dropping a total of six games in three matches, highlighted by an upset victory over third seeded Zain Ali and Rohan Gupte of Tufts.

While Wei and Kaplan lost to second seeded Anupreeth Coramutla and David Aizenberg of Brandeis, Fung and Hillis took out Bessette and Ma in a thrilling tiebreaker, 9-8 (4).
Although Coramutla and Aizenberg would get the best of Fung and Hillis in the final, 8-6, Amherst will have plenty of confidence heading into next week’s Wallach Invitational at Bates.