NEW YORK – The Columbia men’s tennis team suffered a tough loss at home Friday, as the Lions lost to Illinois State, 4-3 at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center. The Red Birds took an early lead with the doubles point, which would prove to be the difference in the match.
Sophomore Nathaniel Gery and senior Kevin Kung were the first doubles team to fall, as they lost in the No.1 spot, 8-4. But juniors Haig Schneiderman and Rajeev Deb-Sen evened the score with a win in the No.3 spot, 8-6. It came down to No.2 doubles, where brothers Cyril Bucher and Tizian Bucher were battling it out. In the end, Illinois State came out on top, 8-6, and the Lions were down 0-1 early on.
The match would prove to be a battle, as the two teams went back and forth several times before the winner was determined. First-year Tizian Bucher tied the match score up at 1-1, as he had a victory in the No.6 singles spot. Bucher defeated Juan Varon easily, 6-1, 6-1. But Illinois State would answer with a win in the No.2 spot, where Alexander Pelaez beat sophomore Cyril Bucher, 7-6, 6-1.
Schneiderman would even up t he team score once again, as he won in the No.1 spot. Schneiderman beat Timon Reichelt, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, to tie the team score up at 2-2. But as was the case previously, Illinois State would take the lead again with a win of its own. In this case, that win came in the No.3 spot, where senior Kung was battling with Tuomas Manner. After Kung won the first set 6-1, Manner rallied back to win the next two, taking the victory, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4.
With a 3-2 team lead, Illinois State just needed one more point to take the match, and the Red Birds got it in the No.5 singles spot. Skip Span beat sophomore John Yetimoglu in three sets, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Sophomore Nathaniel Gery was able to notch a win in the No.4 singles spot, beating Matej Zlatkovic, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5, but it wouldn’t be enough. Illinois State took the match, 4-3.
With the loss, the Lions are now 6-9 on the season. Up next for Columbia is a last non-league match, against local rival St. John’s, Saturday, March 26 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State 4, Columbia 3
1. Alexander Pelaez/Timon Reichelt (ISU) def. Nathaniel Gery/Kevin Kung (COL) 8-4
2. Tuomas Manner/Matej Zlatkovic (ISU) def. Tizian Bucher/Cyril Bucher (COL) 8-6
3. Rajeev Deb-Sen/Haig Schneiderman (COL) def. Skip Span/Mya Smith-Dennis (ISU) 8-6
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2*
1. Haig Schneiderman (COL) def. Timon Reichelt (ISU) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
2. Alexander Pelaez (ISU) def. Cyril Bucher (COL) 7-6, 6-1
3. Tuomas Manner (ISU) def. Kevin Kung (COL) 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
4. Nathaniel Gery (COL) def. Matej Zlatkovic (ISU) 4-6, 7-6, 7-5
5. Skip Span (ISU) def. John Yetimoglu (COL) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
6. Tizian Bucher (COL) def. Juan Varon (ISU) 6-1, 6-1
Order of finish: 6, 2, 1, 3, 5*, 4