#4 Men’s Tennis Goes 4-1 to End Spring Trip

Lubomir Cuba cruised at No. 1 singles on Friday by scores of 6-4, 6-2.
Lubomir Cuba cruised at No. 1 singles on Friday by scores of 6-4, 6-2.

The Middlebury men’s tennis team posted a 4-1 record last week to end its spring trip through Texas, with its lone loss coming to a Division II school. On Monday, the Panthers started the day with a 7-2 win over #19 Gustavus Adolphus, but fell 6-3 to Division II foe St. Edward's (Texas). Both matches were played at the Austin Tennis Academy in Austin, Texas. On Wednesday, the Panthers got back to their winning ways with a 7-2 victory over #16 Trinity (Texas) at the Butch Newman Tennis Center in San Antonio, Texas. Middlebury knocked off top-ranked Emory by a 6-3 score on Friday at the Austin Tennis Academy in Austin, Texas, and followed that with a 6-3 triumph over #2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday. The match started outdoors at the Austin Tennis Academy and was moved indoors to the University of Texas’ Whaling/Snyder Courts due to rain.

 During the match against Gustavus Adolphus, the Gusties scored the first point at No. 3 when David Hagberg and Yassine Derbani posted an 8-6 win over senior Allen Jackson (Charlotte, N.C.) and junior Timo van der Geest (Oegstgeest, Netherlands). The top flight of senior Hamid Derbani (Casablanca, Morocco) and junior Kyle Schlanger (Summerfield, N.C.) evened the match with an 8-6 win against Mohanad Alhouni and Patrick Whaling. The Gusties took a 2-1 advantage into singles when Tommy Entwistle and Chase Johnson tallied an 8-6 win at No. 2 over junior William de Quant (Monaco, France) and sophomore Peter Martin (Orinda, Calif.).

The Panthers swept all six singles matches against Gustavus Adolphus. Hamid Derbani tied the match at 2-2 when Ekstein retired at No. 2 with Derbani ahead 6-3 and 4-1. At No. 4, van der Geest gave the Panthers the lead for good with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Entwistle, while rookie Alex Vanezis (Frankfurt, Germany) made it 4-2 in favor of Middlebury with a 6-1, 6-3 victory at No. 6 over Derbani.

Jackson clinched the match at No. 5 with a 6-0, 2-6, 6-3 win against Johnson, while de Quant cruised at No. 1 over Alhouni (6-3, 6-3) for a 6-2 advantage. Schlanger closed the scoring with a three-set triumph over Whaling at No. 3 (6-4, 4-6, 10-7).

Later in the day against St. Edward’s, the Panthers shifted their lineup around and the singles flights were played first. The Hilltoppers got on the scoreboard first when Chase Bartlett defeated Jackson at No. 2 by scores of 6-2, 6-2. The Panthers leveled the match following a 6-3, 6-4 victory by Martin at No. 6 over Logan Buignet.

St. Edward’s regained the advantage with a narrow 6-4, 6-4 victory by Will Drumright against rookie Weston Brach (Dover, Mass.) at No. 4, but Derbani claimed a 6-3, 6-3 win at the top spot over Charlie Shin to knot the score at 2-2.

The Hilltoppers took the lead headed to doubles with straight-set victories by Mateus de Col over Vanezis (6-2, 6-4) in the third spot and Andre Mercado against rookie Aleksandr Samets (Ocean Township, N.J.) at No. 5 (7-5, 6-4).

During doubles play, Shin and de Col clinched the match for St. Edward's with an 8-4 win over de Quant and Martin in the second spot. Derbani and Schlanger made it a 5-3 match via a victory over Bartlett and Chase Morehouse at the top spot, while Davor Ivkovic and Mercado finished the scoring with a 9-7 victory over Jackson and van der Geest at No. 3.

On Wednesday against Trinity (Texas), the Panthers took two of the three doubles points against the Tigers. The tandem of Derbani and Schlanger picked up the first point with an 8-4 victory in the second spot over Clayton Niess and Chas Mayer. Jackson and van der Geest made it a 2-0 Panther lead with an 8-6 win at No. 3 against Jordan Pitts and Liam Crawley, while the Panther duo of sophomore Lubomir Cuba (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) and de Quant completed the sweep, fighting back from a 6-1 deficit, for a 9-7 victory over Matt Tyer and Wilson Lambeth in the top spot.

During singles action, Schlanger picked up the Panthers’ fourth point with a 6-2, 6-0 score at No. 4 against Crawley. The Tigers earned their two points when Mayer won by default over Cuba in the top spot, ahead by scores of 6-3 and 5-4, while Pitts edged Derbani at No. 3 (6-4, 6-4).

In the No. 2 flight, de Quant tallied the match-clinching team point for Middlebury, battling back from a set down for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Lambeth. The final two points for the Panthers came in straight sets from van der Geest over McKenna Fujitani at No. 5 (6-2, 6-1) and Jackson in the sixth spot against Niess (6-2, 7-5).

On Friday against top-ranked Emory, the Panthers secured two of the three doubles points against the Eagles, who dropped their first match to a Division III opponent this season. The tandem of Derbani and Schlanger picked up the first point with an 8-5 victory in the second spot over Max Renke and Adrien Bouchet, while Cuba and de Quant made it a 2-0 Panther lead thanks to an 8-3 win at No. 1 against Scott Rubinstein and James Spaulding. The Eagle duo of Aman Manji and Jonathan Jemison got Emory on the board with an 8-6 triumph over Jackson and van der Geest in the third spot.

During singles action, the Panthers earned five of the six points, as each match was closely contested. Cuba picked up the Panthers’ third point with a 6-4, 6-2 score at No. 1 against Manji, as Middlebury tallied the first four individual matches to finish. Schlanger recorded a 6-4, 7-6 (5) win over Spaulding to make the score 4-1, while de Quant tallied the clinching point by scores of 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) over Jemison in the second spot.

Derbani posted the sixth point for the Panthers at No. 3, rallying from a set down for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over Bouchet.

The Eagles earned the final two points of the match when Goodman bested Jackson in the sixth spot (7-5, 6-4), while Alec Josepher edged van der Geest at No. 5 (2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2).

Against second-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday, the Panthers’ No. 1 team of Cuba and de Quant were the first off the court with an 8-4 victory over Julian Gordy and Daniel Morkovine. The CMS duo of Jake Berber and Alex Brenner evened the match at 1-1 via an 8-5 victory in the third spot over Jackson and van der Geest. The Panthers took a 2-1 lead headed to singles with an 8-6 triumph at No. 2 by Derbani and Schlanger against Nikolai Parodi and Jay Yeam.

In singles, Cuba put the Panthers ahead 3-1 with a 6-2, 6-3 victory atop the lineup over Parodi, while Brenner pulled the Stags back to within one via a 6-2, 6-3 triumph against Jackson in the sixth spot. At No. 5, van der Geest gave Middlebury a 4-2 advantage with a 6-3, 7-6 (0) win against Max Macey.

Schlanger clinched the match for the Panthers, recording a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 4 over Daniel Park. Patrick Wildman tallied the Stags’ third point against Derbani in the third spot when he retired after winning the opening set (6-4) and Wildman grabbed the second (6-3) and led in the third (3-0).

In the second flight, de Quant closed the match for the Panthers with a 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-1 win against Morkovine for the final 6-3 score.

• Men’s tennis record: 11-1
• Up Next: 4/8 vs. Williams – 10:00 a.m., 4/9 vs. Tufts – 11:30 a.m.