KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The University of Chicago men's tennis team got off to a hot start at the first day of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Central Region Championships on Friday.
The regional tournament, hosted by Kalamazoo College, is composed of 128 singles players and 64 doubles combos in the main draw. The 2016 ITA Central Regional featured the best start to a tournament in school history when UChicago went a perfect 14-0 in singles and 4-0 in doubles on day one.
This year, the Maroons put up an impressive team record once again by going 15-1 in singles and 7-1 in doubles. Seven singles players advanced to the Round of 32 while three doubles tandems reached the Round of 16.
Sophomore Erik Kerrigan entered the weekend as the No. 1 seed and came out strong with matching 6-2, 6-0 wins over his opponents from Wheaton College and Kalamazoo. Three of UChicago's freshmen were seeded – Alejandro Rodriguez (No.9), Jeremy Yuan (No.9) and Justin Lee (No. 17). The trio all swept their matches in straight sets.
No. 25-seed Charlie Pei was impressive with only three games surrendered in two matches. The junior's second win featured a 6-0, 6-0 score line. Senior Peter Leung also posted a shutout in his opening match before upsetting the No. 25-seed from Washington University – St. Louis in three sets. Sophomore Ninan Kumar also pulled out a big win 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) against the No. 9-seed from Kalamazoo in his second matchup. No. 17-seeded senior Luke Tsai went 1-1 and remains alive in the consolation bracket.
In doubles, Kerrigan and Kumar came in as the No. 1 seed. The duo made quick work of their opposition by scores of 8-0 and 8-1. Lee and sophomore Abhin Sharma were seeded ninth and knocked off WashU 8-6 before topping Kalamazoo 8-2. Sophomore Tyler Raclin and Yuan tallied a pair of wins with scores of 8-1 and 8-5. The No. 9-seeded Pei and Rodriguez took their first match 8-5 but dropped a close 9-7 decision in the next round.
"I felt we had a successful first day in terms of our overall record, but I was even more impressed with the way we fought from behind to come back and win a number of matches against some very good opponents," said Head Coach Jay Tee. "We weren't perfect by any means, but we definitely showed improvement from last weekend and did a better job of controlling matches physically and mentally. Tomorrow's opponents will be even more of a challenge and we will get a better sense of where we are as a team."
- Saturday-Monday, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 – UChicago at ITA Central Regional (Kalamazoo, Mich.)