This past Saturday, the Hopkins men’s and women’s tennis teams hosted the Franklin and Marshall Diplomats in the season opener.
Starting with men’s doubles, the Hopkins men started off strong with an 8-4 win from freshmen brothers James and Thomas Yu.
Junior Ryan Hellinger and sophomore Andrew Tran continued the win streak with another 8-4 win. Hellinger spoke about his thoughts going into the match.
“Personally, my mindset was to have fun. It’s my first match so I thought ‘stay calm,’ and I was just thankful to be out there. With my partner, we talked about not doing anything crazy, just making those easy balls. You don’t have to hit some crazy ball, just stay to the book. Make our serves and make our returns.”
Finally, senior Vishnu Joshi and freshman Daniel Ardila beat the Diplomats’ Justin Pace and Tristan Steffe 8-6, closing out doubles in a sweep and giving all three freshmen their first collegiate doubles win.
Ardila expressed his excitement at getting his first collegiate win and playing alongside his teammates.
“It’s pretty special. It’s something that I’ve worked toward for a really long time. I came into the match with a little bit of an injury so I wasn’t sure if I would even get the chance to play,” he said. “And also getting to play with Vishnu, who’s one of the best, if not the best, player Hopkins has ever had, is pretty fun — and we’re a pretty good team too, so it was a good match.”
Moving on to singles, Joshi quickly claimed a victory over Diplomat Adrian Charchalis in an easy 6-1, 6-2 win, pushing the Jays to a 4-0 lead.
The Diplomats finally made it on the leaderboard with a win from Pace, who defeated James Yu 6-3, 6-4 at second. This triumph, however, proved to be their first and only, as Hopkins junior Brian Wang comfortably clinched another win at third, going 6-3, 6-3.
Senior Robby Simon effortlessly put the Jays up 6-1, after cruising to an 8-1 victory over Diplomat Ben Cooke. Tran also sailed to a victory, easily beating Diplomat Isaac Rockower, 8-2, at fifth.
Going out on a high, Senior Eric Yoo closed out the match, edging out Diplomat Anthony Casale. Yoo, after a nail-biting 7-6 (4) first-set victory, captured the second set 7-5.
The Hopkins women also won all three of their doubles matches, pushing Hopkins to a 3-0 lead. Senior Dhanya Asokumar and freshman Ali Bader started the winning momentum with a quick 8-0 at third doubles, giving Bader her first collegiate doubles win.
Sophomores Anjali Devireddy and Emily Javedan continued the 8-0 streak after a win over the Diplomats’ Sammi Perry and Skye Victor at second.
Closing out the doubles play, graduate student Sophia Strickland and senior Anjali Kashyap easily defeated the Diplomats’ Hayley Bidwell and Cassidy Landau 8-0. This victory gave Strickland her 50th career doubles win, making her tied for ninth in program history.
Strickland spoke about how meaningful this match was to her and how far she’d come in her collegiate tennis journey.
“It feels so great to get my 50th doubles win, and I’m glad that I’m not done getting those wins too,” she said.
The win streak didn’t end with the doubles. Devireddy continued the same momentum in singles when she effortlessly beat Perry 6-0, 6-1. Strickland clinched an easy 6-0, 6-3 win at second and Kashyap followed with another 6-2, 6-1 win at first, deciding the match and giving Hopkins a definitive 8-0 win over Franklin and Marshall.
Javedan, Asokumar and junior Jessica Liang all won their matches 8-1, 8-2 and 8-1, respectively.
After both wins on Saturday, the men improve 32-33 all-time and the women 21-20 all-time against Franklin and Marshall. Additionally, the women continued their 16-match win streak and the men continued their 21-match win streak against Franklin and Marshall.
This was a long-awaited moment for Joshi, and he expressed his gratitude toward being able to play for Hopkins again.
“I’m just so happy, because I’ve waited basically a year to be able to play. It was tough practicing this past year, not really knowing when I’d be able to actually compete again,” he said.
Still, all these achievements and getting their first win of the season isn’t enough for the Jays, as Wang talks about their goals for the future.
“We only have seven quote-unquote ‘dry runs’ before the official NCAA championships, so finding our strongest lineup is our highest priority,” he said.
Wang continued to describe their long-term hopes.
“In the long run, our eyes are on the prize — we’re trying to win this entire thing. we’re not satisfied with a conference championship or qualifying for the national championship. We want to win the entire thing,” he said.
Ready to continue their unbeaten streak, Hopkins will host the Dickinson College Red Devils on Saturday, March 27 at 12:00 pm.
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