M. tennis wins three backdraws
While Dartmouth hosted a variety of Homecoming sporting events this weekend, the Big Green men's tennis team traveled to West Point, N.Y. to compete in the Army Invitational. There the team captured three of four consolation singles titles.
Neal Bobba '04, Jesse Paer '04 and David Martin '01 won the backdraw in Flights A, C and D, respectively, and in doing so earned a strong overall finish for the Dartmouth squad.
Bobba lost in the first round at West Point to Akshay Jagdale of Rutgers, 6-3, 6-4. The match was a disappointing one for the Dartmouth freshman, who entered the tournament with high hopes.
"I had been hitting well all week in practice," explained Bobba with some frustration, "but I just fell apart in my first match. He was a good player, but I didn't make him play. I beat myself."
Bobba showed resilience, and rebounded in the backdraw, where he won the remainder of his matches. He captured the consolation title with a 6-2, 6-2 win over teammate Borko Kereshi '04.
"I played better as the tournament went on, but not my best," Bobba said of his performance. "I just found a way to win."
Kereshi lost his first round match to Temple University senior Krishane Pillay, 6-5, 6-2.
"I started the match off well," he said, "I almost won the first [set], but [Pillay] pulled it out and then made a run in the second."
Kereshi fed into the consolation bracket after the loss, where he won two matches.
"My serve got me through my first backdraw match," he explained, "then I had a tough match in the second round."
After splitting the first two sets in that match, Kereshi won the third by default when his opponent retired from the match because of injury. The win catapulted him into the finals against Bobba.
When asked to describe the tone of the all-Dartmouth backdraw final, Kereshi commented that "it was more competitive than a practice match, but more laid back than if it was against another school."
In Flight C, Paer won the backdraw final with an impressive straight set win over Patrick Dahnert of Marist, 6-4, 6-2, while Martin earned the Big Green a consolation title in Flight D with a sound 6-4, 6-0 drumming of the host Army's Josh Jeppesen.
The West Point Invitational was the final event of the short fall season for all but two of Dartmouth's men's tennis players.
Freshman Drew Dinkmeyer and Junior Jeff Sloves did not play in the tournament this weekend. Instead, they stayed in Hanover to practice in preparation for the most important fall tournament, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Eastern Championships, which begins Thursday at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The duo will play doubles and singles in the event, which features over 30 schools in an open draw format.
Dinkmeyer and Sloves will have to be at peak performance to do well this weekend.
In singles, Dinkmeyer is unseeded and will play Harvard sophomore Oli Choo in the round of 128. Choo has the advantage of a year of collegiate experience, as he earned an 11-6 singles record in 1999-2000.
If Dinkmeyer should beat Choo in the first round, he'll face Yale's Scott Carlton, who is seeded 30th in the event. The match-up would give Dinkmeyer the opportunity to avenge his teammate, sophomore Greg d'Incelli's 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to Carlton last week in the Dartmouth Invitational.
Sloves' status as 24th seed this weekend has earned him a bye in the round of 128. In the round of 64, he will meet the winner of Yale's Dustin West and the University of West Virginia's Andrew Marchetti.
Should Sloves hold his seed, a feat that is easier said than done, he will likely run into fifth seeded Akram Zaman from Columbia in the round of 32.
The road is hardly less bumpy in doubles, where the Dartmouth tandem is seeded 15th after an impressive first-place finish at the Yale Invitational earlier this fall. After their bye in the round of 64, Sloves and Dinkmeyer will contend with a team from either Rutgers University or the University of Rhode Island in the round of 32.
Should they hold their seed and advance into the round of 16, they could face Princeton's fifth-seeded duo of Kyle Kliegerman and John Portlock.
After the climactic Eastern Championships this weekend, Sloves and Dinkmeyer will join the rest of their Dartmouth teammates in the winter off-season.
"We'll probably take a break from tennis for a little while at first," said Kereshi, "but then we'll work on our games individually."
Bobba added that the winter off-season will be nice in that "there is no pressure. We will have time to work on the things that need work without having to be ready for a tournament any time soon."
The Big Green won't have too much time away, however, as the longer spring season waits around the corner.