Men’s tennis was not a very gracious host this weekend, sweeping every singles and doubles flight at the UR Invitational.
The Yellowjackets captured all four singles brackets and both doubles draws, dispatching Ithaca College, Hobart College and Division II Mercyhurst College during the two-day tournament.
Junior Partha Bhattacharya took the Flight A crown, defeating teammate Avinash Reddy 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the finals. The Pepperdine transfer was pleased with his victory but also admitted it was somewhat soured by the fact that it was over a teammate.
“I hate playing teammates,” Bhattacharya said. “It was hard playing because it was such an uncomfortable position to be in. I have a lot of respect for Avinash’s game. Either way one person is gonna walk away unhappy and that’s not ideal.”
Reddy, a junior, agreed that competing against another UR player was a difficult situation to be in.
“It’s tough to go out and play someone on your own team. In the end, somebody gets the win and Partha played a great match so he deserved it,” he said.
Bhattacharya, who played in the day’s first finals match at 9 a.m., found it hard to get loose in the brisk morning weather.
“I hate morning matches. For some reason it takes me a lot of time to warm up,” Bhattacharya said. “I knew if I got broke by Avinash the first set and lost I’d probably lose the match. Once I got that win, I knew it would be hard for him to come all the way back.”
In Flight B, senior Dan Williford took care of Mercyhurst’s Lee Michael Marnik in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5.
Yellowjackets squared off in the finals of each of the two remaining draws. Sophomore Eric Prince defeated Junior Brian Shenker 6-0, 6-1 in Flight C while Flight D saw Mike Lee oust fellow freshman Anand Popuri, 7-5, 6-0.
Bhattacharya and Williford teamed up in Flight A doubles to knock off Mercyhurt’s top pair of Marnik and John Nichols, 9-7. The Yellowjackets grabbed an early lead and finished the Lakers off late for the two-point win.
The Yellowjackets’ Flight B doubles team of sophomore Jay Acharya and sophomore Ariel Almog dropped Jonathan Vadnal and Lucas Krasowski 9-8 (4).
UR’s domination on the Peter Lyman Center outdoor courts came as no shock to the team.
“We’re a lot deeper than most of the teams there so the success didn’t come as a surprise,” Reddy said. “It’s always good to win and I still think there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
There isn’t much time for the Yellowjackets to relish their sweep, as the team leaves Thursday for the Intercollegiate Athletic Championships at Vassar College Sept. 27 and 28.
Five UR players have been selected to compete in the singles tournament and three Yellowjacket duos will take the court in the doubles draw.
Bhattacharya is the tournament’s top seed, making him an instant favorite to win the entire event.
Reddy will seeded second and Williford graces the bracket sheet as the eighth-seeded player.
“If you look at it by the numbers, we should have three guys in the quarterfinals which is always a good thing,” Reddy said. “We are the deepest team there and we go in with the most entries. ITA’s are the last individual tournament of the season so it’s important to play well because the best players get selected for Nationals.”
The doubles team of Bhattacharya and Williford will also be expected to maneuver through the bracket and walk away with a victory.
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