Men’s Tennis Serves Up History

Jeffrey Chen ’22 returns a backhand alongside Adam Tzeng ’22.
Steven Eckhoff
Jeffrey Chen ’22 returns a backhand alongside Adam Tzeng ’22.

When competition returned this spring after COVID-19 derailed intercollegiate competition for nearly 13 months, the Judges’ men’s tennis team celebrated by mounting an attack that led to a historic postseason campaign for the university.

After going 6-1 in the regular season, the Judges claimed the second NCAA tournament berth in team history. They earned a first-round bye, dispatched Grove City in the second round and then Southern Virginia to reach the tournament quarterfinals for the first time. The team’s run ended at the hands of the eventual champions, Emory.

With the team eliminated, three individuals advanced to the Division III singles and doubles tournaments. Anupreeth Coramutla ’21 picked up Brandeis’ first singles tournament win since 1989 with a three-set victory over an opponent from the University of Chicago. Despite losing to the top seed from Washington University, Coramutla claimed his second career All-America honor.

That left the doubles team of Jeffrey Chen and Adam Tzeng, both ’22. They clinched All-America status with a straight-set first-round win. In the second round, they met the top-seeded pair from Case Western Reserve. Despite trailing by a set and a break, Chen and Tzeng defended three match points to win, moving them on to the semifinals.

There, Chen and Tzeng faced a similar challenge against a team from Gustavus Adolphus College, splitting the first two sets. While trailing in the third, they faced three more match points. They answered each time, forcing a tiebreaker, which they won. They became the first Bran­deisians to reach the NCAA doubles finals, where they dropped a straight-set match to a team from Carleton.

“Jeff and Adam played incredibly,” says second-year head coach Pauri Pandian. “They showed that they were capable of beating some of the top teams in the country.”

“This was a great opportunity to show who Brandeis tennis is,” Tzeng says.

— Adam Levin ’94, MS’21