This past weekend, the Hopkins men’s tennis team welcomed Amherst College to the courts on Homewood campus for a great day of tennis. In the end, Hopkins was able to beat out Amherst 6-3, winning two of three doubles matches while taking four of six singles matches. The match could be described as a miniature marathon, lasting nearly five hours but it was one that was well worth the time. Hopkins was able to celebrate another victory coming off strong performances from the ITA Championships the previous weekend. The win marked the first time Hopkins had ever beaten Amherst, as the Blue Jays had been defeated in their previous four matches against the Lord Jeffs.
The doubles matches were held this Saturday, as sophomores Tanner Brown and Erik Lim, gave Hopkins the early edge in the match by playing great consistent tennis in their 8-6 win over Mark Kahan and Aaron Revzin in the first match. The two doubles pairs both played very up-tempo and skilled sets but Lim and Brown were able to break through and secure a crucial win for a 1-0 overall advantage in the match. The next match also ended in a favorable outcome for Hopkins. Freshman Nicholas Garcia and sophomore Sam Weissler pushed the lead out to 2-0 as they picked apart Jon Cypers and Andrew Scheiner for an 8-5 victory at thirds doubles. Weissler and Garcia showed great chemistry in this match with solid defense supported by winning key points to give Hopkins a nice lead. The second doubles pair of seniors Andy Hersh and Jeff Kamei was bested in a nail-biter, a hard fought match that ended 9-8 in favor of the Amherst pair of Ben Fife and Andrew Yaraghi.
Both teams remained unbeaten while on serve until they were deadlocked 8-8, leading to a tiebreak. Hersh and Kamei remained very even with the Amherst duo throughout the tiebreak. However, they were unable to overcome great shots made by Fife and Yaraghi as the tiebreak ended 9-7 in favor of Amherst to cut the Hopkins match lead to 2-1. The Hopkins doubles teams all played tremendously, leaving it to the singles matches to claim Hopkins first victory in five tries over Amherst.
The singles matches began with a strong performance from Lim at second singles as he defeated Fife in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (7-5). His performance was good enough to give Hopkins the 3-1 advantage for the day, only two victories away from winning the match.
However, Amherst showed strong resilience as Kahan beat Hopkins sophomore Ben Hwang 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 to make it a 3-2 match. Hwang played extremely strong tennis throughout his sets but was unable to find a rhythm in the latter parts of the second and third sets. With the match getting even more intense, Lim pulled out a decisive three set victory over Rezvin in the fifth singles match 6-1, 5-7. 6-4. It was a crucial victory that pushed Hopkins to only one more individual win needed to secure a victory for the team.
Sophomore Jensen Reiter secured the victory with a win in straight sets against Cypers, 6-4, 7-5 in the fourth singles match. Junior Jeremy Schwartz added to the lead with an extremely impressive come-from-behind 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 win at sixth over Scheiner. The day ended with a superstar matchup between Yaraghi and Hersh in a battle of ITA Regional champions. Hersh fought for a first set 7-5 victory but wasn’t able to sustain the lead as Yaraghi closed out the matches by winning 6-2 and 1-0 (10-3) to claim the first singles match.
It was a very significant win for Hopkins to keep the momentum in their favor heading into the spring season. “As always, the Fall Amherst match is always very important,” said Hersh. ”We’re typically the underdogs heading into this match, but the opposite went for this year. It was an excellent match from top to bottom.”
In the end, the match concluded 6-3 Hopkins, as they claimed four of six in the singles bracket and two of three from the doubles bracket. It is evident that the depth of the team is very strong this year. “I told the team that I would take a loss in singles and doubles 10 times out of 10 if it meant that we could beat Amherst,” commented Hersh. “A win at #1 is the same as a win at #6 and I’m happy as long as Hopkins gets the win. Today, we showed our depth and got a crucial win against a very tough Amherst opponent.”
The team has a break in matches for the remainder of the fall except for Hersh, Brown, and Lim. Two weekends ago, Hersh claimed the singles championship at the ITA Southeast Regional Tournament in Virginia while Brown and Lim won the doubles championship. The three teammates will travel to Mobile, AL this Thursday to compete in the D3 NCAA Small College Championships. The championships begin on October 11th at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile as Hersh, as well as Lim and Brown look to continue their individual successes. From the few matches they’ve played this year, the boys look ready to conquer the season and can use the momentum from these early matches to work even harder in preparation for the upcoming spring season.