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Men’s Tennis – Postseason Recap
Courtesy of CWRU Athletics
A. CWRU’s men’s tennis team celebrates a historic 2023 NCAA DIII Championship win. B. CWRU’s men’s tennis team celebrates victory in a heartfelt team huddle.

To bring this perfect season to an end, the Case Western Reserve University men’s tennis team won their first ever NCAA DIII Championship, and the star pairing of fourth-year James Hopper and third-year Vishwa Aduru defended their doubles championship.

The top-ranked Spartans hosted the first three rounds of the NCAA tournament, receiving a bye for the first round. On May 6, CWRU swept Kalamazoo College in the second round 5-0 to advance. The third round was just as smooth, with the Spartans defeating Denison University 5-1 to punch their ticket to Orlando, FL for the quarterfinals.

On May 13, CWRU faced off against Gustavus Adolphus College at the USTA National Campus, showing their prowess once again for the 5-1 win.

The semifinals match against Middlebury College proved to be the greatest roadblock on the Spartans’ path to the finals. With the score tied 4-4, everything rested on Aduru’s second singles. He dropped the first set 4-6 but came back in the second 7-5. After another exchange, the match was sent into a tiebreaker. Four hours had elapsed, and yet Aduru emerged in this battle of attrition. He fell behind 2-0 in the tiebreak but made a huge push and won the tiebreak 7-4, catapulting the Spartans into the championship match against Tufts University.

CWRU blazed through the doubles, taking a 3-0 lead. Second-year Ajay Mahenthiran earned a win in fifth singles, but Tufts responded with two wins in third and sixth singles. Hopper, one of the best tennis players in DIII history, clinched the championship point in first singles to secure the first ever national team championship for CWRU.

The victory capped the team’s record-setting season with a 33-4 overall record, the most wins in program history. CWRU went 28-0 against DIII teams and finished the season with a 19-match win streak. The championship trophy capped a perfect season after the Spartans won the University Athletic Association Championship and the ITA Indoor National Championship.

For the doubles competition, the dynamic duos of Hopper/Aduru and fourth-years Diego Maza/Chris Provenzano each won their first matches to advance to the quarterfinals. Hopper/Aduru defeated a Bowdoin University pairing 6-4, 7-5, and Maza/Provenzano defeated a Washington College duo 7-5, 7-5. Both pairs also advanced to the semifinals, with Hopper/Aduru winning 6-3, 7-6 and Maza/Provenzano winning 7-5, 6-1.

Hopper/Aduru’s success continued, besting a duo from Johns Hopkins University 6-1, 6-0 to reach the doubles NCAA Championships. Unfortunately, Maza/Provenzano fell in the semifinals to a duo from Swarthmore College.

As the defending champions, targets were painted on Hopper/Aduru’s backs, and they were challenged by Michael Melnikov/Utham Koduri from Swarthmore. CWRU took the first set with ease, winning 6-1. Swarthmore fired back in the second set to tie the match 5-7. In the tiebreaking set, Hopper/Aduru climbed out of a 2-4 hole to win the championship with the 7-6 victory in the third set.

This was the second year in a row that the CWRU men’s tennis team won the NCAA doubles championship and the third national doubles championship in program history.

The win officially brought the Hopper/Aduru pairing to a close, who went 31-2 this season while also winning the ITA Cup III Doubles trophy last fall.

Hopper, who is the most accomplished player in CWRU men’s tennis and potentially one of the most decorated athletes in CWRU athletics, ended his career 82-19 in singles and 128-13 in doubles to go with two NCAA Doubles Championships and three straight NCAA team championship appearances, ending with the title this year. 

The Spartans earned the following honors during the postseason:

UAA Player of the Year – James Hopper

UAA Coaching Staff of the Year – Head Coach Todd Wojtkowski, assistants Saumil Jhaveri, CJ Krimbill and Wade Heerboth

All-UAA Honors – James Hopper (First Team), Vishwa Aduru (First Team), Michael Sutanto (First Team), Ajay Mahenthiran (Second Team), Diego Maza (Second Team) and Chris Provenzano (Second Team)

College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team – James Hopper, Michael Sutanto,

Vishwa Aduru and Ansh Shah

NCAA DIII Elite 90 Award – Sahil Dayal

College Sports Communicators Academic All-America Honors – Vishwa Aduru (First Team),

Ansh Shah (Second Team) and James Hopper (Third Team)

ITA National Senior Player of the Year – James Hopper

ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year – Wade Heerboth

ITA All-Academic Team – Vishwa Aduru, Rohan Bhat, Sahil Dayal, Anmay Devaraj, Daniel French, Casey Hishinuma, James Hopper, Pranav Ikkurthy, John Kasner, Ajay Mahenthiran, Ben Martin, Diego Maza, Yuvraj Narang, Matthew Plunkett, Justin Prochnow, Chris Provenzano, Jackson Schueltze, Ansh Shah and Michael Sutanto.

The fall 2023 season begins at the Kenyon Invitational on Sept. 16-17 in Gambier, Ohio, followed by the Toledo Rocket Invitational from Sept. 22-24. The team will travel to Kalamazoo, MI for the ITA DIII Men’s Central Regional Championships from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

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About the Contributor
Puneet Bansal
Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor
Puneet Bansal (she/her) is a fourth-year student majoring in biochemistry and medical anthropology. She loves obsessing over food, spending time outdoors or annoying her friends. Hailing from the Bay Area, she is an ardent Golden State Warriors fan and finds it daunting to sport her Stephen Curry jersey around Cleveland.

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