PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men's tennis team went to the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., as defending ECAC champion. Despite the fact that they had graduated only three seniors, and returned their number one singles player (junior Jason Pinsky), the Quakers were seeded second going into the ECAC Division I Men's Tennis Invitational. Brown, one of their Ivy League rivals, took theNo. 1spot and seemed to be the team to beat.
But Penn did notworry about rankings or seeding. They just worried about winning tennis matches. And they did that, just the way they were supposed to.
On the first dayof play, the Quakers faced off against No. 15 Stony Brook, and beat them 7-0. In No. 1 singles, Pinsky defeated Nihal Advani, 6-1, 6-4 (10-2). In No. 2 singles, senior Mikhail Bekker (Moscow, Russia) beat Ilan Shvartz, 6-3, 6-0. Sophomore Jonathan Boym beat Youssef Fassi-Fehri in No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-4. Sophomore Justin Fox beat Quirijn Van Neen in the No. 4 spot, 6-3, 6-4. In the No. 5 spot, junior transfer Eric Riley defeated Matthew Jacobson, 6-1, 6-3; and at No. 6, freshman Adam Schwartz defeated Jon Epstein, 6-1, 6-0. The three doubles teams also swept the Sea Wolves, as Pinsky and Riley beat Advani and Van Neen, 8-4, while Bekker and Brandon O'Gara defeated Shvartz and Fassi-Fehri, 8-4. Fox and Boym completed the sweep when they beat Jacobson and Epstein, 8-3.
On Saturday, the Quakers faced off against No. 7 Princeton. Though they were not successful at retaining their undefeated streak, the team pulled through witha 5-2 win to advance to the semifinals. The No. 1 match-up was a rematch of last weekend’s Princeton/Farnsworth Invitational final, as Pinsky faced off against Peter Capkovic. The first time around, Pinsky won 6-2, 7-5, and took home the tournament title. This time around, Capkovic got his revenge, as they played to a tie-breaker and Capkovic won, 6-4, 2-6 (10-6). Bekker also fell ina tie-breaker, to Sratha Saengsuwarn, 6-7(5), 6-3 (10-5). Those would be Penn’s only losses on the day, however. Boym beat Alex Vukovic, 6-3, 6-4, while Fox beat George Carpeni, 6-3, 6-1. Riley defeated Alex Krueger-Wyman, 6-1, 6-3, while Schwartz defeated Ted Mabrey, 6-2, 6-3. The doubles teams managed to remain unbeaten, as Pinsky and Riley beat Krueger-Wyman and Capkovic, 8-1, Bekker and O’Gara beat Vuckovic and Mabrey, 9-7, and Boym and Fox defeated Saengsuwarn and Carpeni, 8-4.
The Quakers advanced to semifinal action on Sunday, where they opened the day up with matches against No. 3 Penn State. The Quakers beat the Nittany Lions 4-0 to advance to the ECAC final. Pinsky defeated Adam Slagter in the No. 1 spot, 7-5, 6-1. In the No. 2 spot, Bekker battled back from a first set loss, to beat Ryan Berger, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(8). Boym handed Brendan Lynch his first loss of the season, as he won, 6-4, 6-3. Riley was facing off against Guillaume St. Maurice, and Schwartz was taking on Michael James, but both matches were called before they finished, since Penn had already won the match.
With the win, Penn advanced to the final, where they matched up against Ivy rival Columbia, who were seeded No. 5 overall. And the Quakers continued their domination, beating the Lions 4-0, to win the title. Pinsky beat Mark Clemente in the No. 1 match-up, 6-1, 6-1. Bekker also won, as he beat Paul Rachford, 6-2, 6-2. Boym continued his unbeaten streak as he defeated Marty Moore, 6-3, 6-3. Four of the match-ups did not finish, since Penn had already earned the win,including Fox versus Jared Drucker, Riley against Jonathan Wong, Schwartz against Justin Chow, and Fox and Boym’s doubles match-up against Clemente and Wong. Pinsky and Riley took home another victory at No. 1 doubles, as they beat Ratchford and Moore, 8-6. And Bekker and O’Gara completed the sweep with an 8-4 win over Chow and Drucker.
Coach Mark Riley was pleased with the win and looks forward to his team’s improvement over the year to come.
“Basically, it was a really good, dominant performance by our guys this weekend,” Riley said. “We look forward to going to National Indoors in Chicago in February.”
Up next, the Quakers will look to repeat their success in a big weekend for Penn tennis, as they host the men’s ITA Regional Championships October 19-24 in the Levy Pavilion.
Day One Results
Day Two Results
Day Three Results