Opening its 2016-17 season, the men’s tennis team grabbed titles in five of the six flights when it hosted the Middlebury Invitational on Saturday and Sunday. Matches were contested outdoors at the Proctor Tennis Courts and indoors on the Nelson Recreation Center courts on the Middlebury campus.
In the ‘A’ singles flight, all four Panthers advanced to the quarterfinal round. A finalist for third-straight year, top-seeded junior Noah Farrell (Wilton, Conn.) grabbed his second-consecutive title when he defeated #2 seed Kei Yuen Leung of Skidmore in the championship match (7-5, 6-1). Senior Hamid Derbani (Casablanca, Morocco) picked up a pair of victories before falling to Farrell in the semifinals. Sophomore Lubomir Cuba (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) also moved into the semifinal round before being edged by Leung by scores of 7-5, 7-6 (3). The fourth Middlebury participant, junior William de Quant (Monaco, France), won his first match in the draw.
Middlebury junior Timo van der Geest (Oegstgeest, Netherlands) was victorious in the ‘B’ singles championship. On Saturday, van der Geest knocked off top-seeded Brian Granoff of Brandeis and RPI's Tristan Wise. In Sunday's play, van der Geest edged Tufts’ Ethan Chen before picking up the title with a 6-3, 6-3 triumph over rookie teammate Alex Vanezis (Frankfurt, Germany) in the final.
Also taking part in the 'B' flight were junior Kyle Schlanger (Summerfield, N.C.), who lost in the semifinal to Vanezis, and senior Allen Jackson (Charlotte, N.C.) who lost in the quarterfinals to Chen.
First-year Panther Weston Brach (Dover, Mass.) secured the ‘C’ flight. The third-seeded Brach needed three sets to win his opening match before winning his quarterfinal match in straight sets. On Sunday, he bested Zach Shaff of Tufts in three sets during the semifinals and won the opening set over Skidmore’s JT Winne before the Thoroughbred was forced to retire due to injury in the final.
Sophomore Peter Martin (Orinda, Calif.) and rookie Aleksandr Samets (Ocean Township, N.J.) also represented Middlebury in the ‘C’ draw, both winning their first match before losing in the quarterfinals.
The Middlebury pair comprised of Derbani and Schlanger were victorious in the ‘A’ doubles bracket with an 8-5 victory over Josh Quijano and Nick Glover from Bates.
The ‘B’ doubles flight featured two Panther duos who produced solid outcomes. In Sunday’s final, the top-seeded Panther team of van der Geest and Jackson edged Brandeis’ Tyler Ng and David Aizenberg, 8-6. The pairing of sophomore Cole Sutton (Baltimore, Md.) and Venezis won their first match over #2 seed Sundar Devakottai and Xavier Oshinowo of RPI before falling in the quarterfinals.
• Men’s tennis hosts Middlebury Invitational
• Up next: 9/30 – 10/2 – at ITA Regional Championships (hosted by Williams)