Men's Tennis Opens 2012 Campaign on Wednesday

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men's tennis team begins its spring portion of the 2011-12 season on the road at Annapolis facing Navy on Wednesday before the Quakers return back home to host their next four matches. The first of those matches will be against George Washington this Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Levy Tennis Pavilion. These will be the first dual matches under new head coach David Geatz.

The fall consisted of individual tournament play and the Red and Blue had a couple of successes in them, one of which was freshmen Jeremy Court winning the Flight D Singles title at the Princeton Invitational in his collegiate debut. Court concluded the fall with a 6-2 record overall in singles, tied with sophomore Ivan Turudic (6-3) for the most wins on the team.

Currently, Turudic is ranked No. 6 in the Northeast Region and 56th nationally in singles. After making a nice run to the quarterfinals of the ITA Regionals,he lost to the fourth-ranked player in the Northeast Region, Venkat Iyer of Cornell, in three sets (6-1, 4-6, 6-7(2)). Turudic does own a win over the ITA Northeast Regional Champion, Vasko Mladenov of St. John's, outlasting him in a tight 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 battle in the quarterfinals of the Columbia Classic.

Turudic and fellow classmate Zach Katz went 4-3 together in doubles during the fall. The pair advanced to the finals of the USTA NTC Invitational Flight A Doubles, but fell to Sam Fife and Will Spector of Brown by a score of 8-5. At the same tournament, the tandem of senior Eugen Brazdil and junior Rob Wong went a perfect 4-0, capturing the Flight C Doubles title.

The Series with Navy:
Overall series: Penn leads 49-35-1
First meeting: 1922, teams tied 3-3
Last meeting: Feb. 23, 2011, Penn won 7-0 at home
Current streak: Penn has won 18 out of the last 19 matches, including 13 in a row from 2000-present.
Last Navy win: April 2, 1999 at Penn, 7-0
Series notables: The two teams have played every year since 1967.

The Midshipmen have already begun their spring campaign and are 3-0 on the young season. They are coming off a double header last Saturday against St. Joseph's and St. Francis (N.Y.), winning 5-2 and 7-0, respectively. This season, Navy is bolstered by a great incoming freshmen class, with four of the five newcomers expected to be regulars in the Nos. 2-5 slots of the lineup. These include Peter McDonald and Calvin Mark, who were the only two players to play in and win both of their matches in the doubleheader.

Despite what the score might indicate, last year's matchup took over three and a half hours. The Quakers swept all three doubles matches to take the doubles point. Penn was up 3-0 in the team score after last year captain, Hicham Laalej, and Nikola Kocovic dispatched their opponents at No. 1 and No. 4 singles in easy straight sets. Then, the remaining four singles matches all went to three sets. Turudic sealed the victory for the Red and Blue after he defeated Navy's now-senior captain, Marcus Rebersak, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Turudic and Rebersak could potentially face each other again on Wednesday.

The Series with George Washington:
Overall series: Penn leads 10-1
First meeting: 1973, Penn won 9-0
Last meeting: Feb. 11, 2011, Penn won 4-3 at home
Current streak: Penn has won the last six matches
Series notables: The only win for George Washington was on Feb. 4, 1996 where the Colonials defeated the Quakers 4-3. The following fall, Penn got its revenge when it beat George Washington by the same score in the first round of the ECAC Championships.

The Colonials are coming off a tough opening weekend stretch, playing four matches in three days. George Washington was victorious last Friday edging out Old Dominion, 4-3, in a four hour match. On Saturday and Sunday, the team participated in the Tribe Kickoff Tournament at William & Mary. GW, however, lost all three of its matches to fall to 1-3 this spring. Freshman Francisco Dias, playing at No. 1 singles, was the only player to go undefeated over the weekend, and was recently named the Atlantic 10 Men's Tennis Rookie Performer of the Week.

Last season, the Red and Blue pulled off a close 4-3 victory over the Colonials at home. After Penn was leading 3-2 in the team score, Turudic once again clinched the win for the Quakers at the No. 2 spot prevailing over Yan Levinski 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. A possible rematch from last year could feature senior captain Phil Law facing George Washington's Alexander van Gils. Law defeated van Gils last year 6-3, 6-3.