Tulane tennis tousles at third tournament

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Photo courtesy of Parker Waters | Photo illustration by Daisy Rymer

Last weekend, Tulane’s men’s tennis team closed out its third tournament of the fall competition season at the Texas Tamale Invitational hosted by Rice University. Following several victories and a few setbacks, the Green Wave seems on pace to match its dominant performance from last season.

On the first day of the invitational, junior Dane Esses had the team’s most impressive showing, notching two singles wins and a doubles victory with teammate Eric Wagner. Esses’ singles triumphs were virtually identical, as he dropped the first set of both matches 1-6, before going on to win both of the second sets 6-3, and the third sets 6-2 and 6-3, respectively. Wagner, a freshman at Tulane, split his singles matches on Friday, before pairing up with Esses to win doubles 7-6 against the University of the Incarnate Word.

On Saturday, Esses continued his undefeated streak in the individual competitions. The junior transfer from Pepperdine University beat out Rice’s Karol Paluch 7-6, 6-2 to advance to the championship round. In the singles ‘B’ draw, Wagner also defeated his opponent in two sets. Esses and Wagner then teamed up for two doubles matches, where they first won against Nicholls State 6-4 in the semifinals, before finally dropping the pair’s only loss of the weekend to Corpus Christi 6-3 in the doubles championships.

Unfortunately, the Green Wave could not maintain its earlier success in singles in the final day of the tournament. Esses won the first set of the top singles draw 7-5 before ultimately dropping the second two sets to the University of Texas’ Chih Chi Huang, 5-7 and 3-6. In the back draw consolation final, Wagner also struggled, losing in two sets to Dencer’s Iggy Castelino.

Despite the shortcomings on Sunday, Tulane had a promising outing overall at the Texas Tamale Invitational. What’s more, the Rice Invitational was only the third of an impressive first few weekends of play for the Green Wave. Last season, the team claimed its first American-Athletic Conference title in the post-Hurricane Katrina era, and in coming back for the 2018 Fall season, it seems that the team has been intent on starting where it left off.

During Tulane’s first season appearance at the Alabama Invitational back in mid-September, the Green Wave certainly made its presence known. Junior Tim Ruetzel claimed a perfect weekend, winning two singles and one doubles match to start the tournament on Friday, before earning the doubles crown with teammate Alex Kotorman on Saturday. The Germany-native closed the weekend by securing the Crimson Draw on Sunday in two sets. Kotorman, a sophomore, also had a successful weekend in Alabama, notching a 2-1 record in individual wins alongside his three doubles victories with Reutzel.

At the UVA Masters Tournament the following weekend, the Green Wave’s performance was mixed. Though the team won just two of its seven singles matches and only one of its doubles competitions on Friday, sophomore Hamish Stewart was on the dominant end of an incredible upset, defeating No. 71 ranked Igor Saveljic in singles. On Saturday, Tulane fared much better, winning six of its eight singles matches and its only doubles match before ultimately securing two more singles wins on Sunday.

Though it is nearly impossible to imagine how Tulane’s men’s tennis team can improve upon its 2018 season success, by taking into account the team’s promising performances thus far, fans can be hopeful that the Green Wave will make its fourth straight trip to the NCAA tournament in 2019.