Spartans Notch Perfect Day to Open ITA Fall Championships

Spartans Notch Perfect Day to Open ITA Fall Championships

The Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team was perfect during the opening day of competition at the 2019 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Fall Central Region Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan, combining to go 9-0 in singles play and 2-0 in doubles contests on Friday.

All four Spartans singles players – seventh-seeded junior Matthew Chen, first-year James Hopper, and sophomores Aaron Umen and Chaitanya Aduru –and both of the Spartans' fifth-seeded doubles pairings – Chen and Hopper, and senior Zach Hennessey and junior Jonathan Powell – reached the round of 16 in their draws.

The Spartans opened their day with the doubles draw, where both CWRU pairings received a first-round bye and went on to claim victories in the round of 32.  Chen and Hopper bested Wooster's Austin Hanna and Alon Liberman 8-3, while Hennessey and Powell defeated Millikin's Logan Bennett and Jacob Palley 8-6.

Both duos will advance to the round of 16, which will be played on Saturday at 8:00 a.m.  Chen and Hopper will face Earlham's Jason Lawson and Joaquin Lerner in the next round, with the winning pair advancing to the quarterfinals to face the victor between top-seeded Erik Kerrigan and Ninan Kumar of Chicago and Tytus Metzler and Zachary Ray of Kalamazoo.  Hennessey and Powell are slated to take on Oberlin's Camron Cohen and Stephen Grupposo in the round of 16, with the triumphant duo moving on to the quarterfinals to face the winner of second-seeded Daniel Henry and Ian Yi of Kalamazoo and Jonathan Kroot and Luke Smith of Washington University.

In the singles draw, Chen defeated Rose Hulman's Austin Perry 6-1, 6-2 in the round of 64 and Calvin's Jose Larrea 6-1, 6-1 in the round of 32.  He will face the ninth-seeded player, Denison's Vlad Rotnov, in the round of 16.

Hopper claimed a flawless 6-0, 6-0 win over Franciscan's Gary Pierre in his first match, and then claimed a three-set victory against Chicago's Sachin Das, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in his second singles contest of the day.  He will face ninth-seeded Timothy Cianciola in the round of 16 on Saturday.

Aduru defeated John Carroll's Gustavo Garcia 6-1, 6-3, and then registered the biggest upset of the day for the Spartans, defeating Kalamazoo's Ian Yi, the third-seeded player in the singles draw, 4-6, 6-4, ret.  He will face the winner of the round of 32 match between Denison's Jacob Dennen and ninth-seeded Daniel Felipe Gomez Espinel of Principia in the round of 16.

Umen was the lone Spartan player to win three singles matches on the opening day of play.  He bested Denison's Jack Bulger 6-4, 6-3 in the round of 128, before topping ninth-seeded Caio Rezende of Augustana 6-2, 6-2 in the round of 64.  Umen completed his day with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Allegheny's Steve Cho to advance to the round of 16, where he will face the tournament's second-overall seeded player, Jake Zalenski of Kenyon.

The round of 16 singles matches will all be played at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, with winning players moving onto the quarterfinals at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Fans can find updated draws at https://hornets.kzoo.edu/sports/mten/2019-20/2019-M-ITA.  Results from Saturday, along with a recap of the Spartans' performances, will be posted to athletics.case.edu following the completion of competition.