TUSCALOOSA, Ala.—After jumping to an early lead, the Harvard men's tennis team closes out its road trip with a loss to No. 21 Alabama, 4-2. With tonight's loss to the Crimson Tide, Harvard drops to 1-2 (0-0 Ivy) on the season and 1-5 in the all-time series against Alabama.
"Alabama is a strong, well coached, top-20 caliber team. The team stood up to the initial onslaught and rebounded to even the match at 2," said the Scott Mead '77 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Tennis, Andrew Rueb. "The energy at the courts was electric with drama in all the remaining matches. While we got edged 4-2 in the end, we will tuck away the lessons going forward."
After losing the doubles point to straight Alabama match wins, the Crimson opened singles strong, with quick victories from Robert Wrzesinski and Steven Sun. Sophomore Wrzesinski bounced back from a first-set loss to take the match over No. 41 Patrick Kaukovalta in the second slot. First-year Sun continued his successful rookie run with his third consecutive victory playing the No. 5 spot, besting Alabama's Alexey Nesterov in straight sets, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
Despite the Crimson's early lead, Alabama quickly bounced back, evening the match with a win the No. 6 spot before the Crimson Tide's No. 24 Mazen Osama clinched the match with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 win over senior Andy Zhou in the first position.
-Robert Wrzesinski and Steven Sun claimed Harvard's sole singles victories over the Crimson Tide, with Wrzesinski besting No. 41 Patrick Kaukovalta.
The Crimson returns to Cambridge next weekend to host Vanderbilt on Feb. 1 before continuing its three-match homestand the following day with a doubleheader against Penn State and Boston University.
1. No. 24 Mazen Osama def. No. 121 Andy Zhou, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
2. Robert Wrzesinski def. No. 41 Patrick Kaukovalta, 0-6, 6-2, 6-2
3. Edson Ortiz def. Harris Walker, 6-4, 6-4
4. Thibault Cancel vs. Lucas Koelle, DNF
5. Steven Sun def. Alexey Nesterov, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
6. Zhe Zhou def. Constantin Zoske, 7-5, 6-4
Order of Finish: 2, 5, 6, 3, 1*
1. Mazen Osama/Patrick Kaukovalta vs. Andy Zhou/Logan Weber, DNF
2. Thibault Cancel/Alexey Nesterov def. Christopher Morrow/Robert Wrzesinski, 6-3
3. Zhe Zhou/Edson Ortiz def. Brian Shi/Lane Leschly, 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 2