Men’s tennis defeats WashU 5-1 for first conference title in program history


Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

The Spartans celebrate their April 23 victory against the WashU Bears, having secured their first UAA Championship after an immensely successful season.

Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor

The Case Western Reserve University men’s tennis team came back from Altamonte Springs, Florida with their third piece of hardware this spring season. Less than two months after winning the ITA Indoor National Championships, the Spartans defeated the University of Rochester, Emory University and the University of Washington in St. Louis en route to the program’s first University Athletic Association (UAA) championship. 

With the conference title, the Spartans earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship. The team will now enter the NCAA tournament sporting 14 straight victories for an overall 28-4 record and a perfect 23-0 against DIII opponents, both of which are program records. The men’s tennis team also becomes the fourth team alongside women’s soccer, men’s basketball and softball to win a UAA title in the 2022-2023 season.

The Spartans, ranked No. 1 in DIII, defeated the University of Rochester 5-0 in the quarterfinals on Friday, April 21. Fourth-year James Hopper/third-year Vishwa Aduru won first doubles 8-1, second-year Ansh Shah/third-year Sahil Dayal took third doubles 8-5 and fourth-years Diego Maza/Chris Provenzano finished second doubles 8-2 for the 21st doubles sweep this season. Shah kicked off singles with a 6-2, 6-1 victory in fourth. Second-year Casey Hishinuma clinched the match 6-1, 6-3 in fifth singles.

The following day, the advancing Spartans faced seventh-ranked Emory University, triumphing with a 5-1 win in the semifinals. Hopper/Aduru and Maza/Provenzano emerged victorious once again in first doubles (8-5) and second doubles (8-4), respectively. Shah/Dayal fell in third doubles (8-6), recording the first CWRU doubles loss in almost two months. 

Up 2-1, the Spartans made quick work of Emory in singles. Aduru secured second singles with a spotless 6-0, 6-0 win, Hopper added with a 6-1, 6-1 win in first singles and Hishinuma clinched the finals berth 6-3, 6-0 in sixth singles. 

On Sunday, the top-ranked Spartans faced off against the third-ranked Washington Bears in a rematch of the ITA Indoor National Championship match from February. The result was no different than the original match, with the Spartans pulling off the 5-1 win for the trophy. After Hopper/Aduru claimed first doubles 8-5, WashU struck back in third doubles 8-4 to even the score. Maza/Provenzano sealed the doubles wins for the Spartans with an 8-6 victory in second. 

Hopper, ranking first in the region, won first singles 6-2, 6-4 while second-year Ajay Mahenthiran claimed fifth singles 6-4, 6-3. Aduru, ranking 14th in the region, bested the second-ranked player in second singles 6-2, 7-5 for the historical clinching point. 

The Spartans will now enter the NCAA tournament for the third straight year and the sixth time in program history. In the previous two seasons, the Spartans finished second as a team. Selections for the full draw and hosts for the first three rounds will be announced at noon on Monday, May 1.