The University of Chicago men’s tennis team (15–3) traveled to St. Louis over the weekend and returned with a win over the No. 40 nationally ranked University of Wisconsin–Whitewater (10–11) but a loss to the No. 6 nationally ranked Washington University in St. Louis (15–3).
The Maroons put in a dominant performance on the first day, sweeping Wisconsin–Whitewater 9–0. Chicago rode its momentum from previous matches in doubles to take 8–2 decisions at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. The third doubles match was tight, but second-year Charlie Pei and third-year Bobby Bethke were ultimately able to dispatch their opponents 9–7. The storyline followed a similar pattern in the singles battles, with all six competitors overcoming the opposing Warhawks comfortably in straight sets. Third-year Nicolas Chua shut out his opponent at the No. 1 slot, while fellow third-years Luke Tsai and Peter Leung only gave up three games each. Other winners on the day included Pei and second-year Jonathan Li at No. 2 and No. 6, respectively, and first-year Erik Kerrigan at No. 3.
The result of the second match of the weekend was foreshadowed by adverse weather. In a rematch between two highly nationally ranked UAA conference rivals, the South Siders were unable to replicate their performance from the teams’ first meeting and dropped a close 5–4 decision to interconference rivals Wash U. After the weather forced the always-competitive matchup to take place indoors, the Maroons were able to gather themselves and claim victory in two of the three doubles contests. Despite losing at No. 1 doubles in a tight 9–8 game, the No. 2 and No. 3 slots were able to close out their victories 8–1 and 8–6.
The singles matches created plenty of anxiety for both teams as three matches were elongated to three sets. At No. 2, Kerrigan was able to quickly beat his opponent 6–2, 6–2. Leung then successively snagged the No. 6 game 6–0, 4–6, 6–2. With the overall team score at an even 4–4 draw and the total time of the contest approaching six hours, it came down to the line in the third set tiebreak at the No. 4 slot. Strong play from Jeremy Bush of Wash U ultimately snatched the match for the Bears 5–4.
Reflecting on the team’s performance against Wash U, third-year Leung said, “We gave it our all, and a couple of the matches simply didn’t go our way. There’s nothing much else to do but to practice more and hope for the best this next weekend at UAAs.”
Preparing for the coming weekend, he commented, “We plan on simply resting up, and after that, just making sure we are feeling well physically: Florida’s climate has quite the grueling humidity, so it’s important that we go in at 100 percent.”
The men’s tennis team will look to recover from their season closer as they head to Altamonte Springs this Friday through Sunday to seek a UAA Conference Championship. Should the rivals face off again in the tournament, the outcome may surely be different.