Last Thursday the Bates Men’s Tennis Team traveled to Williams College for the fall regional ITA. While a long trip down, the Bobcats were excited to confront one of the toughest regional draws in the country. The tournament started on Friday morning with doubles. The competition was forced inside due to rain that would persist through the weekend. As the one seed, senior captains Rob Crampton and Matt Bettles were the first match on. They eased into their first round winning 8-4. Meanwhile sophomore Pierre Planche and junior Peter Yanofsky were in a battle with Middlebury invitational finalists Steven Milo and Josh Jordan of Brandies. After trading breaks with the Brandies pair, the match went to a tiebreaker, where the Bates duo fell 9-8 (10-8). Having finished doubles action for the day the Bobcats moved into singles play, Sophomore Henry Lee had a tough challenge in his first round match with Jay Glickman of Tufts. A semifinalist in the A draw at Middlebury, Glickman defeated Lee 6-1 6-0. Junior Peter Yanofsky played a marathon first round match against Josh Suneby of Conn College ultimately falling 4-6 6-3 10-5 in the super breaker. Also in action in singles for the Bobcats were Pierre, Rob (who was the two seed), and Matt (who was the six seed). All three would make it through their first round matches with Pierre Defeating Doug Kaplan of Bowdoin 7-5 6-3, Matt taking down Clark’s Antoine Martin 6-4 6-2 and Rob beating Ilya Levin of Trinity 7-6 6-3. However, despite the first round successes, of the three, only Matt would survive Friday’s singles action. In the second round Pierre ran into Mark Kahan of Amherst who was also the one seed for the tournament. Pierre lost 7-5 6-1, but gave Kahan all he could handle in the first set and hung in for a tough second set. Rob had a commanding 6-1 5-3 lead over Nichols’ Brandon Roode before the freshman mounted an impressive comeback to take Rob out in the super breaker, 1-6 7-5 10-7. Matt on the other hand, made it through to Saturday after coming back from a set down to MIT’s Kevin Wang, beating him in the super breaker 3-6 7-5 10-3.
Matt and Rob starting their Saturday playing doubles against the eventual singles finalists Amherst’s Yaraghi and Fife. After a tight beginning to the pro set, Matt and Rob’s experience lead to the break and 8-5 win over the talented freshmen. In their next match the Bobcat pair faced a much tougher challenge in Middlebury’s Johnson and Leguino. The Middlebury pairing featured some huge serves which didn’t give way to a break point until the 14th game. Yet it only took one break point as Bates was able to break Leguino and hold on Rob’s serve for the 9-7 victory. With the Bobcat doubles safe until Sunday Matt started his round of 16-singles match against Amherst’s Fife. Bettles took a commanding lead into the second set up 6-1 3-1. However, Fife turned it on in the 5th game of the second set and took the match the distance, eventually beating Bettles in the third set breaker 1-6 6-4 7-6(2).
Going into Sunday, the two seniors used their singles frustration to run through their semifinals doubles match against William’s Chow and Astrachan 8-4. In the Finals, which was a full 2 out of 3 sets, Matt and Rob ran into Trey Meyer and Matt Micheli. The match was as close as it was long. Lasting just over two and half hours the Williams pair prevailed 6-4 4-6 6-4. In the first set both teams traded breaks to start. Williams ended up with the third and final break to take the set. In the second set the momentum shifted as Bates took the early break in the first game and then traded a break with Williams later in the set resulting in the 6-4 set to the Bobcats. Finally, in the third Matt and Rob had only one opportunity at deuce for a break point but came up unlucky allowing Williams to hold and get the go ahead break at 4-5 for the win.
Bates Men’s Tennis will be in action next weekend at the Wallach Invitational at Bates College.