ST. PETER, Minn. – The eighth-ranked Brandeis University men's tennis team came within a whisker of upsetting top-ranked Emory University in the semifinals of the 2020 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III National Indoors Championships today, as the Judges fell to the Eagles, 5-4, at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. Brandeis falls to 2-1 on the season, the Eagles improve to 3-0.
The Judges opened the match with a pair of doubles wins. The tandem of senior David Aizenberg (Highland Park, Ill./Highland Park) and junior Anupreeth Coramutla (Monroe Township, N.J./Phillips Andover) rolled past Emory's Hayden Cassone and Antonio Morro, 8-3, at the #1 spot. At #2, sophomores Jeffrey Chen (Northfield, Ill./New Trier) and Adam Tzeng (Eagle, Idaho/Eagle) outlasted Will Wanner and Alec Rabinovitz, 8-7, winning a marathon tiebreaker 14-12, to clinch a lead headed into singles. #3 also went to a tiebreaker, but Emory avoided the sweep with an 8-7 (7-4) win by Andrew Esses and Hassan Kenawi over Judge junior Rajan Vohra (Glen Head, N.Y./North Shore) and sophomore Colt Tegtmeier (Madison, Wisc./James Madison Memorial).
The Eagles took the first two singles matches to finish, as Morro avenged a loss to Coramutla, 6-3, 6-3, at #2. Esses then knocked off Tzeng at #3, 6-2, 7-6, winning the tiebreaker 7-4 to give EU a 3-2 lead. Kenawi then defeated Brandeis rookie Simon Kaupilla (Chesterfield, Mo. / Marquette) at #6, 7-5, 6-1, to push Emory within a point of victory.
The final three matches each went three sets after the Judges won the first. Aizenberg completed a sweep of Cassone, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, to halt the Eagles' momentum and cut the score to 4-3.
The final two matches finished at nearly the same time. Emory's Rex Serituk rallied to defeat Judge junior Nikhil Das (Smithfield, R.I./Moses Brown School), 6-7, 6-1, 6-3 at #5, for the clinching point, while Brandeis won the final match at #4, with Chen defeating Mark Sverdlov, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), to close out the match.
The Judges will take on a third-straight UAA opponent tomorrow in the third-place match when they meet fourth-ranked Chicago at a time to be determined.