On Sunday, the Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis team swept their double header against Michigan State and Belmont in dominant fashion, winning 6-1 and 6-0, respectively.
Despite the dominant score line, the Commodores first match of the day against Michigan State got off to somewhat of a rocky start. After Vanderbilt and Michigan State split the first two lines of doubles, Vanderbilt needed a tight 7-5 victory by George Harwell and Billy Rowe over Michigan State’s John Carlin and Anthony Pero to secure the doubles point.
“Doubles in the first match against Michigan State was ragged, not very good, but we found a way to win” said Vanderbilt head coach Ian Duvenhage.
After successfully squeaking by in doubles, the Commodores’ nerves seemed to settle, and the team rolled to three quick singles victories.
At line five, Rowe cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Pero. Harwell swiftly defeated the Spartans’ John Carlin 6-4, 6-1 on court two, and at line four, Vanderbilt freshman Macsem Sisam clinched the victory with a 6-3, 6-3 win against Carson Gates.
Although Vanderbilt had already officially won the match, Vanderbilt and Michigan State agreed to allow the remaining courts to finish.
In those remaining matches, Vanderbilt’s Maxwell Freeman fell to Ivan Rakic 4-6, 1-6. The Commodores’ line one Cameron Klinger edged Jack Winkler 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7), and freshman Marcus Ferreira beat Nick Williams in an abbreviated pro-set 8-2.
Shortly after their comfortable victory against the Spartans, the Commodores faced the Belmont Bruins.
Similar to their match against Michigan State, Vanderbilt had to overcome some sloppy play to secure the doubles point against the Bruins. After winning at line three, Vanderbilt’s line two pair of Freeman and Sisam had to fight back from a 3-5 deficit to win 7-5 and to give the Commodores a 1-0 lead.
“It was long day,” said Duvenhage. “You could see some of the nerves and the fatigue here in the second match.”
Despite their seemingly worn-out demeanor, the Commodores cruised in singles play, winning all lines that were able to finish (all except line six, which ran out of time).
Rowe dominated Belmont’s Vincent Sterkens 6-3, 6-3. Harwell emerged from a tight first set and routed Joan Valy 7-5, 6-2, and yet again, Sisam secured the Commodores’ victory with a 6-3, 7-6 win against Zak Khan.
After Vanderbilt clinched, Klinger and Ferreira finished their matches, each of whom won in a deciding set.
Even though the Commodores won both matches in dominant fashion, Duvenhage still believes that the team needs to improve their composure going forward.
“We need a little more control in handling our frustration,” said Duvenhage. “We still have to ride the ups and downs of the match better.”
The Commodores are back in action on Feb. 15 at the 2019 ITA National Team Indoors Championship in Chicago, IL.