Final Tournament Bodes Well for Spring

The men’s tennis squad sent three members to the ITA Oracle Cup this weekend: third-year David Liu for singles and doubles pair fourth-year Max Hawkins and first-year Tyler Raclin. The doubles pair took fifth place, while Liu finished sixth.

By Alec Miller

Cold weather is rolling in, and that means the men’s tennis team’s fall season has come to a close. The Maroons capped off their play in 2016 this past weekend at the Oracle Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Cup. Chicago sent three student-athletes down to Surprise, Arizona to compete in both the singles and doubles national championships.

Unfortunately, the results may not have been what the South Siders were hoping for when they boarded the plane for Arizona. Neither the singles nor the doubles teams finished higher than fifth place.

On the singles side of the bracket, the lone Maroon competing was third-year David Liu. Liu was coming off a phenomenal first place finish at the ITA Midwest Regionals. This finish was good enough to earn him the second overall seed in the Oracle Cup. 

In Liu’s first match, the quarterfinals, he faced Lubomir Cuba from Middlebury College. Liu was defeated in straight sets 6–4, 7–5. Following the loss, Liu was moved into the consolation bracket where he would have the chance to win a couple of matches. In the first consolation round, Liu squared off against Nikolai Parodi from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Liu defeated Parodi in straight sets 7–6 (5), 6–3, advancing him into the fifth place match. There, Liu went up against the No. 1 seeded player in the tournament, Kai Yuen Leung from Skidmore College. Liu was defeated in straight sets 7–6 (3), 6–3, landing him in sixth place for the tournament.

It was a disappointing finish for Liu, who believed that his best play did not show this weekend. “Of course finishing sixth wasn’t ideal, and I can’t say I played my best,” Liu said.  However, Liu realized that it is important to recognize how hard he has worked to get this far and how much he has accomplished. Liu said, “it’s important to put things in perspective and remember that I came from playing No. 6 on the team two years ago to being No. 6 in the country this year.”

Additionally, Liu was very respectful of his competition’s play this weekend. “Everyone there was at the top of his game and I have to give everyone full credit for playing lights-out,” he said. “It’s just a really high level of tennis that I was happy to be a part of.”

On the doubles side, fourth-year Max Hawkins and first-year Tyler Raclin represented Chicago. In their quarterfinal match up, they faced the team of Tyer and Lambeth from Trinity College. Chicago was defeated in a heartbreaker 6–4, 1–6, 1–0 (4). However, after their first loss, Hawkins and Raclin would start rolling through the consolation bracket. In their next match, they defeated Elifson and Beck from Saint Thomas 6–4, 6–1. Then in their final match, they defeated Buxbaum and Walsh from John Hopkins 6–3, 7–6 (3). This victory earned Hawkins and Raclin a fifth-place finish.

This tournament marked the end of the men’s tennis team for the Maroons in 2016. Play will resume in 2017 with the indoor season.