Harvard enters the weekend having won three of its last four matches (Harvard Athletic Communications).
The Harvard men's tennis team will have two chances Sunday to work out any kinks before heading into Ivy League play next week, as it hosts Illinois State and Fairfield in a doubleheader at the Murr Center Tennis Courts.
Harvard and the Redbirds have met once in their history, a match that went to the Crimson by way of a 7-2 victory in 1980.
This will be the first meeting between Fairfield and Harvard on the tennis courts.
The early spring has been an up-and-down ride for Harvard, seeing everything from a four-match win streak to losing three of four to start the spring dual season, all to top-75 teams. Doubles has been the Crimson's strength, winning the point in its last four matches and five of the last six. Junior Jonathan Pearlman is Harvard's lone ranked player, coming in at No. 107 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles ratings March 15. Pearlman is the only Ivy League player listed in the ITA singles rankings, and has played at the No. 1 singles spot in nearly every match for the Crimson this spring, boasting a 6-8 record at the position.
About Illinois State
The Redbirds (9-5) will take on Columbia in New York City Friday, and most recently swept a home doubleheader over Western Illinois, 4-1, and Ball State, 5-2. The Crimson also defeated Ball State this season by a score of 5-2. Illinois State opened its season with 7-0 sweeps over Butler and Illinois-Chicago.
The Stags (4-5) enter the weekend having lost three in a row. They will face Villanova Saturday in a neutral site match at Yale in New Haven, Conn. Fairfield opened the spring dual season with a 3-1 record before losing four of its last five.
Last Time Out
It was strength at the bottom of the lineup that held up for Harvard Saturday, grabbing three of four matches in the No. 3 through No. 6 spots to clinch a 4-3 Crimson win over Denver in the consolation championship of the Hilton Mission Valley Spring Classic in San Diego. Freshman Casey MacMaster improved his singles record in duals this spring to 9-2 with a three-set, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, victory over fellow rookie Alex Clinkenbeard of Denver. Sophomore Joshua Tchan went back above .500 (3-2) at the No. 6 spot this season with a 6-0, 6-0, blanking of the Pioneers' Angel Alvarez.
The Crimson will begin its pursuit of an Ivy League title by opening play April 1 against Cornell, a team it lost to, 5-2, in the semifinal of the ECAC Championship in February. The match will begin at 2 p.m. at the Murr Center Tennis Courts.