Sports

Men’s tennis suffers against Duquesne with 7–2 defeat

First-year Yuvraj Kumar advanced to the round of 16 before losing to senior Andy Hersh of Johns Hopkins. (credit: Jonathan Leung/Junior Photographer) First-year Yuvraj Kumar advanced to the round of 16 before losing to senior Andy Hersh of Johns Hopkins. (credit: Jonathan Leung/Junior Photographer)

For the third time this season, Carnegie Mellon set out to face a non-Division III opponent, this time coming in the form of Duquesne University. The final count, 7–2, belied a series of close-fought matches, a few of which were decided with tiebreakers. The Carnegie Mellon team picked up its two wins in No. 1 singles and No. 3 doubles by sophomore Abhishek Alla and the team of sophomore Paul Okuda and first-year Kiril Kirkov, respectively. In the end, though, Carnegie Mellon could not pull out the victory over tough competition.

In one of the matches decided by a second set tiebreaker, No. 5 singles first-year Kenny Zheng put up a fight before losing a tough set. After the match, he showed resolve saying, “It’s disappointing to lose a close match. When a match is that close it comes down to mental toughness, and he was just mentally tougher than I was on the big points. That’s something I need to work on going forward.”

Zheng’s loss was just one in a day full of close defeats, but the takeaway from a day like this is that Zheng, as well as the rest of the team, played hard, and that a few key bounces might have swung some of the matches.

Alla was impressive, winning his round in two matches and providing one of the few major bright spots on the day for Carnegie Mellon. He picked up his second consecutive individual match, which adds to his recent wins in the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships in October and the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Championships at the end of September. The regional tournament saw Carnegie Mellon produce three out of four semifinalists — first-year Kenny Zheng, junior Christian Heany-Secord, and the champion.

With only two games in the books in the spring portion of the season, Carnegie Mellon has beaten one Division I opponent and lost to another. After much success in the fall portion of the season, Carnegie Mellon now stands at 5–2 on the season. They have a long break to regroup before they play West Virginia Wesleyan College and can try to get back on track on Feb. 22.