With a sweep in its opening win over Buffalo and another subsequent victory against Temple, Penn men’s tennis set the tone for the rest of its spring season as one of unyielding tenacity.
Senior Jonah Jurick holds a remarkable habit of challenging for dramatic wins throughout his Penn career. In 2021, he won the tiebreak 10-1 against neighboring rival Drexel for a third-set victory. As a freshman, he won all four singles matches in the spring without losing a single set. It was then characteristic of Jurick to seal the opening Penn win in the final match against Buffalo this spring season. After dropping his first set 2-6, Jurick flipped the momentum in his following two sets and signed his name to close out Penn’s sweep.
Senior Jason Hildebrandt holds an impressive record in doubles as a Quaker, going 23-9 overall in his three previous years. Hildebrandt has also been improving his play in singles, and hopefully both his singles victories so far at No. 2 will set a trend in his performance through the spring season.
Hildebrandt teamed with junior Edoardo Graziani for doubles in the first two competitions of this year, proving a formidable European pairing while playing at No. 1. They won their first match of the year 6-1 against Buffalo, and shook off Temple with a 7-5 win.
Graziani, an Italian native who reached second in Switzerland’s U18 rankings before coming to Penn, played at No. 1 in both singles and doubles in the opening two competitions and did not drop a match.
Junior Zach Smith has also displayed immense chemistry with Hildebrandt in doubles last year, going 5-1 at No. 1. Smith proved himself with a 10-3 finish in singles his freshman year and achieved a record of 6-0 in singles during last year’s limited spring season. Smith's loss against Temple that cut Penn's sweep short will undoubtedly be on his mind, but his history and proven talent hints towards results to come this season.
The start of 2022 showed Smith working to harmonize with fellow junior Aditya Gupta, which has proven to be yet another exceptional chemistry within the men’s team. The pairing comfortably won their match against Buffalo, and collected their second doubles win of the season from Temple.
Gupta’s straight consecutive singles and doubles wins in the first two competitions preserves his undefeated record so far this spring season. His previous overall losses in both contests count to only single digits per season.
Three players have contested in No. 2 for doubles so far. Junior Harsh Parikh won both doubles played, pairing with fellow junior Kevin Zhu against Buffalo and freshman Baylor Sai against Temple.
Parikh went 5-0 undefeated paired with Gupta in doubles in 2021, the best spring record by any Penn pair. Going overall 18-9 in doubles, Parikh stood as a reliable partner to freshman Sai, who collected an impressive 6-1, 6-3 singles victory against Temple in his first appearance this year.
Zhu, who reached #88 in the nation last year, won three pre-qualifying rounds at the 2021 All-American Championships, where he was named to the selection along with teammates Graziani, Gupta, and Hildebrandt. Zhu has not yet appeared in singles play this spring season.
Freshmen Zachery Lim and Tal Goodman and sophomore Sameer Gangoli have yet to appear in the first two competitions, but their standout performances from the fall – Lim’s 3-0 singles debut at the Orange Lawn Invitational, Goodman’s winning weekend at the Penn Fall Invitational, and Gangoli’s singles and doubles records of 4-1 and 3-1 – are reminding of many opportunities to see the underclassmen succeed while playing in Red and Blue.