Men’s tennis defeats nationally ranked Amherst 5–4

First-year Kosuke Hasegawa clinches the match for the Tartans.
 (credit: Jonathan Leung/Junior Photographer) First-year Kosuke Hasegawa clinches the match for the Tartans. (credit: Jonathan Leung/Junior Photographer)

After the men’s tennis team’s slow start to the fall season, the Tartans finished in strong fashion. On Oct. 6, the Tartans took on Robert Morris University, defeating the Division-I school 9–0. The match was the perfect warm-up for the team’s match on Oct. 7 against No. 2 nationally ranked Amherst College. The Tartans defeated the Amherst Lord Jeffs in a close 5–4 match after coming back from a 3–0 deficit in doubles.

“Especially given the quality of the team we were competing against, it was hands down the most impressive comeback I’ve seen in my 10 years at Carnegie Mellon,” head coach Andrew Girard said. “To win five straight set singles matches against an opponent like Amherst shows that our team is capable of beating anyone this year. This very well may be the strongest and deepest team we’ve ever had. An outstanding way to wrap up our fall season.”

Despite rain in the forecast, the Tartans managed to fit in the match against Robert Morris University.

The Tartans started with doubles, and first off the court was No. 3 duo of sophomores Bryce Beisswanger and Christian Heaney-Secord, with a score of 8–3. Next off the court with a closer match was No. 1 doubles team of senior Duke Miller and sophomore William Duncan. Rounding out the 3–0 doubles sweep came from No. 2 doubles, the newly formed team of sophomore Thomas Cooper and first-year Kosuke Hasegawa, 9–8.

The Tartans took the court for singles and won every match. The first off the court was Heaney-Secord at No. 1 singles with a 6–2, 6–3 victory. Miller at No. 2 singles followed suit, winning 6–4, 6–4. Hasegawa won without dropping a single game at No. 3 singles. Duncan finished next, only dropping three games with a 6–2, 6–1 victory at No. 5 singles.

Senior Harsha Rao, No. 6 singles, took out his opponent 6–1, 6–0. No. 4 singles player senior Jooho Yu battled to a three-set tie-breaker, winning 7–6, 6–2, 10–6 to conclude the match.

The next day, the Tartans’ match was moved to an earlier time in an effort to avoid rain. They took the court against the Lord Jeffs starting with doubles. Despite the tough fight, the team lost all three doubles matches. The Lord Jeffs defeated No. 1 team of Miller and Duncan 8–5, and then took out No. 3 team of Beisswanger and Heaney-Secord 8–4. The Tartans’ No. 2 doubles team of Cooper and Hasegawa resisted the longest, but eventually fell 9–7.

The Tartans started singles play with a 3–0 deficit, but this did not stop them from winning the match. First-year Yuvraj Kumar led the Tartans with the team’s first victory of the day at No. 4 singles, winning 6–0, 6–4. Duncan followed suit, winning his match at No. 6 singles 6–1, 6–4. First-year Abhishek Alla kept the ball rolling with his match at No. 3 singles, winning 6–4, 6–4.

After a rain delay and a move indoors, the Tartans maintained the momentum. Heaney-Secord won at No. 1 singles 6–2, 6–3, increasing the lead to 4–3 and set up the team for a win. Miller lost at No. 2 singles bringing the match at 4–4. Hasegawa was the last Tartan on the court, and after a well-fought battle, won his match 7–5, 7–5, sealing the Tartan victory.

Assistant coach Mike Belmonte was proud of the team’s comeback.

“We certainly didn’t go into the match thinking we would lose all three doubles points, but we knew that we had the talent at every other spot to compete with Amherst, and our guys proved us right,” he said. “It was a very hard-fought and well-deserved comeback victory for us, and we are going to use it to launch ourselves into the spring season.”

The team will begin its spring season in February with its first match against the West Virginia Wesleyan College Bobcats. This match will be hosted by the Tartans at one of the team’s indoor facilities.