October 7, 2008

Zhang, Walsh enjoy success as men’s tennis warms up at ITA Regional

A lonely event three months before the regular season, the ITA Regional this weekend found the men’s tennis team send one player to the semifinals and one the quarterfinals, perhaps a preview of a season that will start with high hopes.

In a pool of 128 competitors, second-year Will Zhang dropped just one set en route to the semifinals before lost to the tournament’s second seed, while classmate Tim Walsh fell to the first seed in the quarterfinals.

Fifth-ranked Zhang, an NCAA tournament last season, started the day quick, dominating the first two matches by scores of 6–2, 6–1 in each. After sweeping the first set of his third-round match, Zhang first met trouble in the form of Kalamazoo second-year Cyrus Jadun, who took the second game 6–3. Zhang, however, struck back, taking the match with a 6–3 third set.

Chicago’s top singles player coasted past the next two rounds but fell to Wash U’s second-ranked third-year John Watts in straight sets, 6–1, 6–2.

Walsh, the tournament’s eighth seed, cruised to the quarterfinals with straight-set wins in his first four matches. Kenyon third-year Mike Greenberg, however, overwhelmed the Florida native 6–2, 6–2.

Third-year Lado Bakhutashivili also played to the round of 32, losing just three games before falling to the tournament’s sixth seed DePauw fourth-year Scott Swanson.

The Maroons now enjoy a three-month break, restarting at the beginning of winter quarter, meeting DePaul and Northwestern near the beginning of January if weather permits.