April 2, 2015

South Siders narrowly miss out on blemish free start

While most of the campus was off doing whatever it is that college kids do on spring break, the No. 13 Maroons played four matches in four days—two of which were against ranked opponents. Fortunately, they had the opportunity to play under cozy conditions in sunny California. First-year Peter Leung was especially effusive in his praise of the weather.

“Comparing its weather to Chicago’s or Houston’s [his hometown], I would consider it heaven,” Leung said.

The Maroons kicked off their campaign by sweeping Glendale 9–0, followed by victories over No. 24 Cal Lutheran by a score of 7–2 and Whittier by a final tally of 8–1. Chicago’s lone loss of the weekend came at the hands of No. 4 Pomona-Pitzer in a battle that ended at a close score of 5–4.

Possibly the nice weather contributed to the Maroons’ strong start, where they swept their first match against Glendale 9–0, extending their winning streak to seven straight matches in the season.

This streak continued against Cal Lutheran, as the Maroons won 7–2. While Cal Lutheran came out hot, winning two of the three doubles matches, the Maroons stormed back to take all six singles matches.

The following day, the Maroons continued their dominance, defeating Whittier 8–1. This brought the South Siders’ win streak to a total of nine straight matches. While they dropped the No. 1 doubles match, the Maroons were resilient and proceeded to only lose one game in the second set of their singles matches.

Unfortunately, the nine- match win streak came to a close on last Friday against No. 4 Pomona-Pitzer. It was a closely contested game, with the Maroons falling 5–4. Chicago won one of the three doubles matches, followed by a very contentious group of singles matches, in which three of the matches went to decisive third sets. The contest came down to No. 4 singles, which was one of the three that went to a tiebreaker. In the end, the Maroons were unable to muster enough strength to take down Pomona-Pitzer.

Although the streak has ended, there were several positive points of the Pomona-Pitzer matchup. Fourth-year Deepak Sabada was named the UAA Co-Men’s Tennis Player of the Week after he extended his singles matches streak to eight.

“The streak isn’t something that is on my mind when I play so I don’t think it adds any pressure,” said Sabada. “[It] definitely helps with confidence as you know you’ve been successful in many different situations in the past.”

This confidence was extremely helpful against Pomona-Pitzer, where he was able to come back from being down 5–1 in the third set to win.

“I played more fearlessly when I was down 5–1 and once I got a couple of games, my opponent got tight,” Sabada said.

Another highlight of the match was Leung’s easy win, as he triumphed 6–1 and 6–3 in straight sets in his singles match.

“What enabled me to be successful against Pomona was having the confidence that I was part of a team that was just as good, if not better, than Pomona,” said Leung.

Moving forward, this sentiment was also echoed by second-year Sven Kranz who said, “We almost upset the No. 4 team in the country, and we will take that as motivation in the upcoming weeks.”

The Maroons’ next match is against No. 3 Wash U, and based on how close their last match was, it will definitely be one to watch. It will take place at Wash U next Saturday at 9 a.m.