Women’s tennis defeats Johns Hopkins

The Carnegie Mellon tennis teams have had a busy week. On Friday, both the men and women dropped 6–3 decisions to the University of Mary Washington. On Saturday, the women bounced back, crushing Swarthmore 8–1. On Sunday, the women handily defeated 14th-ranked Johns Hopkins University, but the men lost a terse, closely contested match 6–3.

On Friday in Virginia, both teams took on the University of Mary Washington, whose men’s and women’s teams were ranked 11th and seventh, respectively. In this case, the rankings were correct and the Mary Washington teams prevailed.

For the men, first-years Bobby MacTaggart, 7–6 (10–8), 6–1, and Alex Nemerov, 6–4, 6–1, both won tight first sets and then steamrolled their opponents in the second. Sophomore Ravi Raghavan and senior Andrew Clearfield won their doubles match 8–6. Against Mary Washington, first-year Jennifer Chui went 2–0, winning both her doubles match with senior Amy Staloch 8–5 and her singles match 6–2, 6–2.

On Friday, the women, on a two-match losing streak, went up against Swarthmore College. But Swarthmore provided little opposition to the Tartans, only managing to win one match against Carnegie Mellon.

Continuing a tough weekend against highly ranked teams, on Sunday at home the tennis teams fought Johns Hopkins. The eighth-ranked women’s team easily and quickly beat Hopkins 7–2, never leaving the outcome of the match on the table for discussion.

“Our doubles came out really well and we played really aggressively,” Hart said. “It was a good win all around for everyone. We showed we can win against top teams.”

The women’s record is now 13–5. However, the course of the men’s match was vastly different from the that of the women’s. Carnegie Mellon got into a deep hole quickly, going down 0–3 after losing all three doubles matches.

In singles, where the team excels, the men quickly evened things out 3–3. The last three matches fell to MacTaggart, who lost 6–3, 6–2 to give Hopkins the penultimate point with a 4–3 lead.

When MacTaggart lost, sophomore Jon Spero and Raghavan were still on the court, locked in battle. For Carnegie Mellon to win, both Spero and Raghavan had to win.

In the first set of his match, Raghavan got blown off the court by the powerful shots of his bulky Hopkins opponent, losing 6–0. Raghavan managed to get his head back together and started out the second set well, matching the power of his opponent. Raghavan whipped forehands cross-court as well as his opponent, and he came up with some up-the-line passing shots that curled in.

While Raghavan’s match was even in the second set, Spero had won the first set of his match 6–2. Spero went down 3–0 in the topsy-turvy second set, but managed to climb back, only to lose his serve again and go down 5–3. The Hopkins player had the set on his racquet, which proved disadvantageous, as he yelled: “How many double faults are you going to give him?” and hung his head after every missed first serve. Spero took advantage, pulling even and forcing a second-set tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker, Spero’s emotional opponent came up with some good serves, forcing a weak return from Spero that could be easily volleyed into the open court. Spero, after expending much energy to force the tiebreaker, lost it 7–5. In the third set, the momentum had swung completely to Hopkins. Spero’s shots got shorter and shorter in the court, allowing his opponent to pounce on them. Spero lost his serve to go down 3–1. Spero couldn’t repeat his second-set comeback, and lost his match 2–6, 7–6 (7–5), 6–2.

“We went 3–0 in doubles and that put a lot more pressure on singles,” Spero said. “I came out pretty hot. But he played better on the bigger points at the end of the second set. They’re a very intense team, and that can help you or hurt you.”

Moments after Spero’s loss gave Hopkins the win at 5–3, Raghavan cracked and lost 6–0, 7–5. The men’s record is now 12–6.
The tennis teams enter the home stretch of their season this week. Today at 3:30 p.m., the men play Grove City College. Over the weekend, they will compete in the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) tournament at the College of Wooster in Ohio. The women play West Liberty State College and ninth-ranked Denison University Saturday and Sunday away.