Men’s Tennis: Commodores impress at ITA Regional Championships

Vanderbilt men’s tennis had a strong showing—including a quarterfinals appearance—at the Regional Championships this past weekend.


Vanderbilt Athletics

The Commodores competed at the ITA Regional Championships in the Ohio Valley over the weekend. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Anish Mago, Deputy Sports Editor

Shortly after head coach Ian Duvenhage announced he will be retiring following the 2022-23 season, Vanderbilt men’s tennis impressed at the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championship this past weekend. The Commodores showed their quality in the short exhibition, with nearly all of their players enjoying first-round victories at the tournament and playing in the later rounds. Despite not returning with hardware, the Commodores showcased their squad’s depth ahead of the spring season. 

Vanderbilt got off to a flying start on the first day of competition, claiming victory in all of their opening round singles matchups. Of the eight victories, six were claimed in straight sets, with No. 59 Joubert Klopper, Jeremie Casabon and Siim Troost winning in convincing fashion. The Commodores were nearly as perfect in doubles, with three of their four duos (Nathan Cox/Michael Ross, Macsen Sisam/Klopper and Troost/Casabon) winning their matches 8-4. Freshmen Mitchell Deames and Paul Wang were the only Commodores to fall on the tournament’s opening night, with the pair battling but eventually losing, 8-5.

The second day brought a more mixed bag of results for the Commodores. Casabon and Cox started out strong again, with both claiming decisive victories to advance to the round of 32. Both players were able to keep their momentum churning in the third round as well, with Casabon claiming a victory in straight sets and Cox winning in a back-and-forth battle that finished 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-3. Through two very different paths, the two both made it to the round of 16. 

Unfortunately for the Commodores, none of the other singles competitors found the same rhythm as Casabon and Cox. Of the remaining six players, none won their second-round matchups. Despite close matches, including two Commodores (Sisam and Troost) playing into a third set, Vanderbilt’s hopes in singles moving into day three rested on the shoulders of just Casabon and Cox. Thankfully, Vanderbilt’s doubles teams were able to survive and advance to the second day of competition. All three pairs won in convincing fashion to move on to the round of 16. 

The third day of competition brought high-stakes matches for the Commodores, who were looking to advance to the competition’s final day. The day got off to a rough start, as both Casabon and Cox ran out of steam in their round of 16 matches and lost in straight sets. Following their singles defeats, Casabon and Cox also fell in the round of 16 of the doubles tournament with their respective partners, Troost and Ross. For the Commodores, the highlight of the day was the veteran duo of Klopper and Sisam pulling out a close win, beating host Louisville’s duo of Etienne Donnet and Alex Westbrooks, 8-5. In the end, Klopper and Sisam fell 8-6 in the quarterfinals to Kentucky’s last remaining doubles team, falling just short of clinching a semifinal berth after an admirable run. 

All in all, the Commodores left the tournament on a positive note and with high aspirations established for the spring season. Vanderbilt will finish their fall season with a trip to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech Invitational starting on Nov. 4.