Men’s tennis bounces back, wins three straight

Senior Marcus McDaniel slices the ball in his singles bout against Clemson, taking three tightly contested sets in a close matchup. // Photo courtesy of Knox Lingenfelter Student Publications

After two hard-fought losses to ranked teams, No. 20 North Carolina State (NC State) and No. 4 Wake Forest, Tech looked to bounce back against the Clemson Tigers on March 13, taming them with a score of 4-2. Just two days later, Tech grounded a familiar ACC foe in the Boston College (BC) Eagles, 6-1, before handling The Citadel Bulldogs by a score of 7-0. 

Nail-biting losses to NC State and Wake Forest motivated Tech to come out strong against Clemson. The match commenced with doubles play, No. 38 ranked doubles senior Marcus McDaniel and senior Keshav Chopra taking on Clemson’s junior Maxwell Smith and freshman Noa Vukadin. On Court 2, senior Andres Martin and freshman Krish Arora faced freshmen Stewart Aronson and Marko Mesarovic. On court 3, freshman Richard Biagiotti and sophomore Elias Shokry challenged graduate Max Damm and freshman Wissam Abderrahman.

The Jackets started off tense with Biagiotti and Shokry falling 6-1, but Tech did not run from the grind . McDaniel and Chopra responded with a resounding 6-4 victory of their own. To secure the doubles point, Martin and Arora dispatched their opponent 6-3, giving Tech a 1-0 advantage prior to moving to singles play.

In singles, the Jackets posted a strong line up of No. 18 Martin, No. 42 Chopra, McDaniel, Biagiotti, junior Rohan Sachdev and Arora. Tech continued their momentum from doubles play after Martin took down his opponent in straight sets 6-2 and 6-3 to make the match score 2-0 in favor of Tech. Clemson responded  immediately by knocking off Sachdev in two sets by scores of 4-6 and 2-6. Biagiotti fell 4-6, 3-6, allowing Clemson to tie the match at 2-2. 

Tech clawed back with McDaniel winning a three-set thriller 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to give Tech a narrow edge. Arora secured the match for Tech winning his match 7(7)-6(5), 6-3 to push Tech across the line with a match score of 4-2. A dominant victory over Clemson gave Tech a boost prior to their double header against Boston College and The Citadel. The Jackets started off with their doubles matches against the Eagles. Tech’s double pairing remained similar  to the match against Clemson, with the only difference being sophomore Robert Bauer playing alongside Biagiotti instead of Shokry. 

The top pair of McDaniel and Chopra fell 6-3 before Arora and Martin would respond with a resounding 6-0 win of their own. Tech fell just short with Biagiotti and Bauer falling 6-3, giving BC a 1-0 advantage in the match. The doubles point was the only one that the Eagles would secure in the match thanks to a clean sweep in singles play. Chopra tied  the match up with a clean 6-1, 6-3 win. Arora followed up with a 6-2, 6-1 win to give Tech a 2-1 advantage. 

Martin secured a 6-2, 6-3 victory before Sachdev added a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory to further the Jackets lead. McDaniel and Biagiotti followed suit with victories of their own to make the match score 6-1. Tech followed up their dominant display against Boston College with an even more dominant performance against The Citadel. The Jackets swept  the doubles point with a bounce-back performance from McDaniel and Chopra. The duo avenged their loss against BC with a 6-3 win. Bauer and Shokry paired up to win 6-4 to secure the doubles point for Tech. Biagiotti paired up with fellow freshman Owen DeMuth made it three wins out of three with a 7-5 victory. The winning ways continued for Tech during the singles matches with all of the matches being decisive straight set wins. Chopra dominated 6-0, 6-1. Martin won 6-2, 6-2. Shokry glided by 6-2, 6-4. Bauer followed 6-1, 6-2. DeMuth punctuated 6-4, 6-3. Biagiotti would finish off the match 6-4, 6-4, securing the clean sweep in favor of Tech 7-0.

Despite three dominant displays, the Jackets moved down to No. 35 in the country. After almost a two-week layoff, the Jackets return to play a tough ACC stretch against No. 15 Florida State on March 28 and University of Miami on March 30 at home in the Ken Byers Tennis Complex. This is an excellent opportunity for the Jackets to show their mettle.