King wins deciding match against #2 Amherst
Sophomore Jeremy King was the man of the hour for the Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team, who last Sunday hosted national finalist Amherst University and defeated them 5–4. King won the deciding match against number 2 Amherst 5–7, 7–5, 6–3 while both teams anxiously looked on. The win will push the Tartans into the top ten in the NCAA rankings and brings their record to 3–1 for the season.
The match started off with doubles play, where the Tartans soon found themselves overpowered. The first doubles duo and ITA champions, seniors James Muliawan and Niko Ljuboja, lost 8–6 after a tough battle. Second doubles, consisting of juniors Alex Nemerov and Bobby MacTaggart, did not have as much luck either, and dropped their match 8–5. However, the third doubles team of King and first-year Duke Miller lifted the team's morale by easily topping their opponents 8–3.
With the Tartans trailing 1–2 after doubles, they kicked their intensity up a notch to win four more points. Nemerov added one point at first singles, beating his opponent 6–3, 6–4. Miller and senior Jon Spero each overcame their opponents in close matches, with scores 6–7, 6–1, 6–2 and 7–6, 6–4, respectively. Muliawan and MacTaggart, despite their efforts, lost their matches to tie the score at 4–4.
The lone Tartan still in a match was King. After dropping the first set 5–7 and rallying to win back the second 7–5, the fate of the match rested in the outcome of the last set. With assistant coach Mike Belmonte planted on King’s court and the rest of the Tartans loudly voicing their support, King was able to get an early three-game lead in the set and go up 4–1. After a two-game drop, narrowing the gap to 4–3, King regrouped and closed out the set 6–3 to win the match for the Tartans.
This win is the most significant for the Tartans, and a positive indicator of outstanding results to come.
“We definitely believed we could beat them right before the match, especially with our preparation,” King said. “We went out and played some tough [doubles] and we kind of just knew that we would pull through. It was probably the most exhilarating win in the men’s tennis history.”
Spero shared King’s excitement. “You have to fight hard to beat top teams, and we did that after being down 2–1 in doubles and losing four first sets,” he said. “I think we earned this one, and it feels good to know we’ll be moving into the top 10 in the country.”
After an exciting end of the fall season, the Tartans will resume play in the spring.