Yaraghi Tops Fife as Young Jeffs Take Regional By Storm
Contact: Matthew Hart
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The weather wasn’t the only surprise at the ITA Regional Tournament for the Amherst College men’s tennis team. Unseeded Ben Fife '16 knocked off teammate and top-ranked Mark Kahan '13 in the semifinals Sunday morning to advance to the singles final, creating an all-Amherst title matchup with fellow Jeff rookie Andrew Yaraghi. Originally scheduled for Sunday, the championship was postponed and relocated due to an academic obligation, with Yaraghi, who entered the tournament seeded in the 9-16 group, eventually knocking off Fife, 6-2, 6-2, in Amherst on Wednesday.
With all matches moved indoors due to continued wet weather, competitors played late into the night on Friday and Saturday with Fife, Kahan, and Yaraghi each making their way through the 64-player singles field to set up Sunday’s semifinal drama. Amherst’s top doubles pair, Kahan and Russel Einbinder '16, advanced to the quarterfinals Saturday before falling to host Williams’ Brian Astrachan and Bryan Chow. Another pair of Ephs, Trey Meyer and Matt Micheli, would go on to win the doubles crown.
Sunday morning’s singles semifinals featured a heavy tinge of purple as Fife upset Kahan in three sets, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. Yaraghi meanwhile, dispatched of Middlebury’s Palmer Campbell in easier fashion, 6-3, 6-2.
All three Amherst semifinalists faced stiff competition on Saturday. Fife’s biggest test came in the round of 16, where he rallied to edge Bates’ sixth-seeded Matt Bettles in a third-set tiebreaker, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2). Carrying momentum from the win, Fife then topped Noah Bragg of Bowdoin in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-2.
Kahan, meanwhile, needed a pair of three-set wins to reach the semis. In the round of 16 he moved past Alec Parower of Middlebury, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-1 before knocking off Brandeis’ Steven Milo in the quarters, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
For Yaraghi, the drama came in the quarterfinals, where he topped Alex Johnston of Middlebury in two tight sets, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5). In the previous round, the young Jeff had knocked off fifth-seeded Edwin Zhang of MIT, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
The Jeffs’ performance this weekend bodes well for the upcoming season. After Monday’s final, Amherst will head to Johns Hopkins on Saturday, October 6.
Complete ITA Singles Bracket
Complete ITA Doubles Bracket
Day Two Recap
Day One Recap