Brown Beats Harvard, 4-3, for Ivy League Men's Tennis Championship

Brown Beats Harvard, 4-3, for Ivy League Men's Tennis Championship

April 21, 2002

Providence, RI - In the battle of Ivy League men's tennis heavyweights, Brown captured its first-ever Ivy League Championship with a thrilling 4-3 victory over defending Ivy champion Harvard, before a capacity crowd at the Erickson Athletic Complex. The Bears also earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Championship by capturing the Ivy title.

The victory capped off an undefeated Ivy League season for the 50th ranked Bears, who posted a 7-0 Ivy mark, 13-9 overall. Harvard, ranked 27th nationally, lost its first Ivy match of the season to fall to 5-1 in the league, 13-5 overall.

"I'm so glad for this team, who did everything I asked of them," said an ebullient Brown coach Jon Choboy. "We're not done yet, though. After winning the Ivy title we now have our sights set on the national championship."

Coming into Sunday's match, Harvard had won 24 Ivy tennis titles, including the 2001 crown (which it shared with Columbia), while Brown was looking for its first championship. In fact, since Brown joined the Ivy League/Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis Association 41 years ago, Brown's best finish ever was 7-2 and second place in 1988 and 1989.

After senior Nick Malone dropped a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Harvard's Jon Chu at number one, Brown junior Justin Natale evened the match with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Davis Lingman at second singles.

The sea-saw battle between the two teams got even closer when Brown junior Chris Drake lost at number four, 6-4, 6-2, to the Crimson's Mark Riddell. About a minute later, Brown drew even once again when freshman Nick Goldberg captured a 6-3, 6-3, victory at number six over Oli Choo.

With Bears' sophomore Jamie Cerretani trailing in the third set at third singles, and suffering from a rib injury, the match came down to fifth singles, where Brown freshman Adil Shamasdin was locked in a thrilling match with Harvard's William Lee.

Shamasdin dropped the first set, 4-6, and battled back to captured the second set, 6-2. After falling behind 4-3 in the third and deciding set, Shamasdin reached within and rallied for a 6-4 victory, scoring the winning point at love-40 , to set off a wild celebration of the Bears first Ivy men's tennis title.

"I was really nervous before the match, but I wanted to be a part of Brown's first Ivy championship," said Shamasdin. "I had played Lee in the fall and knew his game, so I decided to be more aggressive and play my game. We didn't do all those early morning workouts for nothing."

Brown took the early advantage by capturing the key doubles point, winning two of three doubles matches. Brown's first doubles team Drake and Natale set the pace with a hard-fought 8-5 victory over the Crimson's Lingman and Chu. The doubles point was in doubt for the Bears after Malone and Shamasdin lost at second doubles, 8-4, to Harvard's Lee and Chris Chiou. The Bears doubles duo of Cerretani and Goldberg secured the doubles point with an 8-3 victory over Dalibor Snyder and Riddell.

1.  Chris Drake and Justin Natale (B) def. David Lingman and Jon Chu (H), 8-5
2.  William Lee and Chris Chiou (H) def. Nick Malone and Adil Shamasdin (H), 8-4
3.  Jamie Cerretani and Nick Goldberg (B) def. Dalibon Snyder and Mark Riddell (H), 8-3

Singles 1. Jon Chu (H) def. Nick Malone (B), 6-4, 6-2 2. Justin Natale (B) def. David Lingman (H), 6-2, 6-4 3. Cliff Nguyen (H) def. Jamie Cerretani (B), 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 4. Mark Riddell (H) def. Chris Drake (B), 6-4, 6-2 5. Adil Shamasdin (B) def. William Lee (H), 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 6. Nick Goldberg (B) def. Oli Choo (H), 6-3, 6-3