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Men's Tennis Defeats Tufts in Five-Hour Match

By Ann Ames

The men's tennis team played an intense match on Wednesday, edging Tufts University 5-4 to win its first match of the season. Playing in the Division III format, with singles first and doubles teams playing full two-out-of-three set matches, the competition lasted until 8 p.m.

The matches outcome was uncertain until the last point of the final match was played. In singles, Alan Walpole '93, second seed, and Jay Muelhoefer '94, third seed, picked up wins for the Engineers, while Manish Bhatia '93, first seed, and Mauricio Lomelin '94, fourth seed, lost their tough matches, evening the overall score at 2-2.

Mark Erickson '94, fifth seed, and Nick Tsai '94, sixth seed, playing side by side, battled through very similar matches. They won their first sets and dropped their second, and went on to gain early service breaks in their third sets. Tsai played aggressively to capture this set and his match, but Erickson, plagued by a blister on the bottom of his foot that later required the attention of a trainer, lost his match, again leaving the schools evenly split at three matches apiece.

The pressure was on as the doubles teams took the courts. Walpole and Muelhoefer, the first seeded team, were inconsistent in their first set, which they lost in a tie-breaker, but Bhatia and Lomelin, second seeds, were strong, working together and playing the net skillfully to win their first set.

The tables turned, however, when Tufts' second seeds came back to take the second set, and Walpole and Muelhoefer settled in to win theirs. As both teams battled on into the third set, Erickson and Tsai, third seed, closed out their own doubles match with a win for the Engineers, giving MIT a 4-3 lead.

Soon, however, Bhatia and Lomelin were overpowered by Tufts and the score was settled again at 4-4, leaving all the pressure of the day on the first-seeded pair. With strong serves by Muelhoefer and the cheering of their teammates, the two captured the final set and the match, clinching a victory for MIT.

Last year saw a similar meeting between MIT and Tufts, with the score tied 4-4 and only the first-seed left to finish. On that day, however, Tufts was superior, and went away with a 5-4 win. Wednesday's women's tennis match was rescheduled for April 20, because of the conflict with the men's match.