Men's tennis places fourth at ITA Team Championships

The Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team took the court on Friday against 11th-ranked Pomona-Pitzer College in the quarterfinal round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The Tartans defeated the second seed with a 5–4 score, bringing them to 5–2 on the season. The Tartans started the competition off strong in doubles play from the pair of first-years Daniel Levine and Vayum Arora, taking first doubles decisively with a score of 8–3. Seniors Abhishek Alla and Yuvraj Kumar won 8–6 in third doubles, and sophomore Jeffrey Chen fell in a tiebreaker for second doubles with a score of 9–8(9–7).

Carnegie Mellon fell behind 3–2 as Pomona-Pitzer took first and fifth singles, but Levine managed to even the score again in second singles, winning 6–4, 7–5. The Tartans then gained an advantage thanks to a come from behind victory in fourth singles with a score of 4–6, 6–4, 6–3. Junior Kenny Zheng scored the fifth and final point for the Tartans, winning 7–6(7–4), 3–6, 7–5 in third singles.

On Saturday, the team advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament and fell to University Athletic Association (UAA) opponent Emory University. First-years Levine and Arora earned the first point of the match in first doubles, winning 8–5. Emory tied the match in third doubles, but the combination of Chen and Zheng pulled off a 9–7 victory in second doubles to put the Tartans back in the lead heading into singles play.
Unfortunately, singles play did not go as well as doubles. The only point for the Tartans in singles play came from Chaz Downing in sixth singles, winning 6–2, 2–6, 10–2. The Tartans were disappointed, but they moved on to play in the third place match on Sunday for a chance at some sort of redemption.

That redemption did not come for the Tartans in the third place match. Carnegie Mellon fell 5–4 in a barn burner against University Athletic Association (UAA) rival Case Western Reserve University. The loss drops the Tartans to 5–4 on the season, and they took fourth place in the tournament.

Doubles play gave the Tartans confidence and allowed them to gain a lead. Senior pair Alla and Kumar fought their way to a 9–7 victory in third doubles, while the pair of Chen and Zheng managed to score their own point for the Tartans. The team headed into singles play with a 2–1 lead.
Levine kept the Tartans in the game with a nail-biting win in three sets, edging out his opponent 6–2, 3–6, 6–2 to bring the score to 4–3. Freshman Downing showed his prowess in singles play once again, scoring the final point for the Tartan in sixth singles, 6–4, 6–1. Case Western Reserve managed to find victories in first, third, fourth, and fifth singles to put the Tartans away.

This marks the second fourth-place finish for the Tartans in four appearances at the ITA National Indoor Championship. The next challenge begins for the Tartans on Sunday, March 6 in Claremont, California as they take on Whittier College.