Chen & Hopper Named UAA Athletes of the Week for Men’s Tennis

Matthew Chen (left) hits a forehand shot, while James Hopper (right) hits a backhand

Case Western Reserve University junior Matthew Chen and first-year James Hopper were named the University Athletic Association Athletes of the Week for Men's Tennis, after earning All-America honors at the 2019 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Fall Central Region Championships last weekend, by virtue of winning both draws at the event in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Chen and Hopper teamed up to claim the doubles title at the ITA Regionals, becoming the first players in program history to win the regional title.  Hours later, Hopper claimed the singles championship, becoming the first player in CWRU history (men's or women's teams) to accomplish the feat.

In the doubles draw, Hopper and Chen, seeded fifth overall, topped third-seeded Tyler Raclin and Joshua Xu 6-4, 3-6, 10-5 to claim the title.  In the singles draw, Hopper, unseeded entering the tournament, secured the championship with a straight-set victory, defeating Kenyon's Jacob Zalenski (seeded second in the draw) 7-5, 6-4 in the title match. 

Hopper bested four seeded singles players on the way to the title – no. 1 Ethan Hillis (Washington), no. 2 Zalenski, no. 9 Timothy Cianciola (Denison) and no. 9 l Li – and combined with Chen to top three-seeded doubles teams –  no. 1 Ninan Kumar and Erik Kerrigan (Chicago), no. 3 Raclin and Xu, and no. 4 Neves and van der Sman.

Hopper finished the tournament with a 6-0 singles record and a 5-0 mark in doubles play, improving to 14-0 in singles matches to begin his career.  Chen also reached the semifinals of the singles draw, going 4-1 in singles play during the weekend to improve to 7-4 in singles play in the fall.  Chen and Hopper raised their records to 12-0 in doubles contests this year, including a 9-0 mark when playing together.

Winning the draws granted the duo an automatic entry to the ITA Cup in Rome, Georgia from October 17-20.

The following CWRU men's tennis players have been named UAA Athletes of the Week in 2019-20:

September 16th: James Hopper
October 7th: James Hopper & Matthew Chen