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The GW Hatchet

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Men’s tennis takes down two ranked opponents, earns perfect weekend

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Aaron Esparza.

The men’s tennis team defeated East Carolina 4-1 Sunday, wrapping up its undefeated weekend in which it took down its first two ranked opponents.

“Now it’s really coming together. This is one of the best teams GW has ever had and our overall end goal is winning the A-10.”

This statement, made eight days ago by men’s tennis assistant coach Philippe Oudshoorn, seemed a little out of place. The Colonials were reeling from a 1-4 start, with depth and consistency problems being clearly realized.

Then-freshman Danil Zelenkov hits a serve during practice last saeson. | Hatchet File Photo
Then-freshman Danil Zelenkov hits a serve during practice last saeson. | Hatchet File Photo

Fast-forward to this weekend’s three-game tour of North Carolina and Oudhsoorn’s bold quote makes more sense. The Colonials went on a winning frenzy, grabbing 4-0 victories against No. 70 Charlotte and No. 60 UNC Wilmington, and a 4-1 win against East Carolina. Just like that, GW now finds itself over .500 at 5-4.

The weekend began Friday on No. 70 Charlotte’s home court, with the Colonials desperate for their first win this season against a ranked opponent.

The match showed that rankings aren’t always everything, as GW was in firm control throughout. En route to the 4-0 victory, the Colonials’ doubles duo of senior Nikita Fomin and sophomore Danil Zelenkov defeated the No. 31 pair in the nation – Kamil Khalil and Jordi Massalle Ferrer.

With their first ranked win under their belt, GW carried its momentum into its matchup with No. 60 UNC Wilmington. Unlike Friday’s match, UNC showed from the beginning that they would make GW fight for every point, sweeping the doubles matches for the first point. Coming in, the Colonials had not won a match this year in which they lost the doubles point.

In response to this challenge, the team, which has struggled all season with a lack of depth, won four of six singles matches to secure the slim 4-3 victory, the clincher coming by way of senior Ulrik Thomsen in the No. 5 slot.

“The best thing about [this game], was that everybody [was] stepping up on the team. Everybody,” Oudshoorn said.

Looking to complete the weekend sweep, GW finished with a noon matchup against strong East Carolina team (10-3). Although unranked, Oudshoorn described the pirates as “gritty” and just as tough as the first two opponents.

The match began with a somewhat smooth win for GW in the doubles point, however, in singles, GW faced a rocky start when the usually steady junior – Francisco Dias – went down in straight sets.

Despite the worrisome start, the rest of the team picked up the slack, with straight set wins from Fomin and freshman Julia Tverijonas, and the second match-clinching win of the weekend from Thomsen.

Next on the schedule: a noon match against Navy (8-4) in Annapolis March 8. Both teams will enter riding a four-match win streak.

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