Men’s Tennis: Vanderbilt Kicks Off Season with 5-2 Win Over Wisconsin

The Commodores triumphed behind strong performances from team veterans No. 34 George Harwell, No. 93 Joubert Klopper, and Max Freeman.


Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt men’s tennis celebrates during a meet in early January. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Jack Hollier, Staff Writer

On Jan. 29, Vanderbilt men’s tennis opened its spring season with a 5-2 win over the Wisconsin Badgers thanks to crucial victories from veteran players in doubles and singles play. The two teams battled it out at a neutral site in Auburn, Alabama. 

Veteran fifth-years George Harwell and Max Freeman gave the Commodores a head start with their dominant 6-1 doubles set at Line 1. Then, senior Marcus Ferreira and junior Joubert Klopper closed out doubles play with a 6-4 set victory, securing the first point of the match for the Commodores.

 Freeman and Klopper sustained their dominance through singles play. Each quickly added another point to Vanderbilt’s total in their respective singles matches. Freeman overwhelmed Wisconsin’s Robin Parts in a 6-1, 6-1 victory, and shortly after, Klopper trounced Gabriel Huber in another straight-sets triumph, 6-2, 6-2.

Vanderbilt senior Macsen Sisam quickly gave up a 6-0 set to the Badgers’ Tim Dzhurinskiy. He kept the match close in the second set, but ultimately lost it 7-5. Junior Siim Troost then lost another straight-sets match to Wisconsin’s Sebastian Vile.

After jumping to a quick lead, Vanderbilt had allowed Wisconsin to creep back into contention, and needed to obtain another singles point to lock down the match.

With the Commodores on the brink of victory, all eyes turned to Court 1, where Harwell, the No. 34 men’s collegiate player in the country, grappled with Jared Pratt. In a close first set, the two reached a score of 6-6, launching a tiebreaker. With service control and consistency, Harwell powered through the tiebreak, winning 7-4 and capturing the first set. He carried that momentum into the second set, which he won by a larger margin, 6-3. Harwell’s match added the fourth point to Vanderbilt’s total and decided the overall match.

Ferreira, even when the outcome of the match had already been determined, displayed resilience and composure in a hard-fought three-set victory against Lenard Soha, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

After starting the season off on the right foot, the Commodores will hope to add a few more to the win column when they face both Drake University and Lipscomb University at home on Feb. 4 and 6, respectively.