Amherst Tennis Players Battle On; ITA Awards Jeffs Pair of Awards

Austin Chafetz was named the 2010 ITA National
Player to Watch, while advancing to the National
Quarterfinals of the Singles Tournament today.

FREDERICKSBURG,VA/OBERLIN, OH – With the team competitions of the 2010 NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships coming to a close yesterday, a handful of Amherst competitors took the courts at Oberlin College and Mary Washington University for the doubles and singles tournaments. Prior to today’s opening rounds of doubles and singles action, the ITA tabbed a pair of Lord Jeff men’s players for national awards.

For the men’s team, Amherst’s Austin Chafetz (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) and Mark Kahan (Unionville, CT) qualified for the 32 player singles tournament, while Chafetz teamed up with classmate Robby Sorrel (Scarsdale, NY) in the 16-team doubles championship. Amherst’s Brittany Berckes (Secaucus, NJ) and Laura Danzig (Allendale, NY) qualified as a doubles team for the women’s bracket, while each player earned a spot in the singles flight as well.

Following the Amherst men’s team’s loss to NESCAC rival Middlebury College in yesterday’s National Team Championship match, Chafetz and Kahan were tabbed by the ITA for a pair of national honors. After earning the Regional Rookie of the Year title in 2009, Chafetz was dubbed the 2010 ITA National Player to Watch – the highest individual honor for a sophomore tennis player. For the second straight year an Amherst men’s player grabbed one of the rookie honors, with Kahan earning the 2010 ITA National Rookie of the Year award.

In the opening round of singles tournament play, Kahan was pitted against Mikey Lim from Claremont, while Chafetz was slated for a match against Juan Carlos Perez-Borja from Grinell.  Lim took the first set from Kahan 6-4, but the Amherst rookie answered back with a 6-2 win in the second stanza, forcing the match to a decisive third set. Kahan jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set, but lost four of the next five games to drop into a 4-4 tie with Lim.  The third frame ultimately went to a tiebreaker, with Kahan gutting out a win to advance to the Round of 16. Kahan’s singles tournament run would end in his second match of the day, as he fell to John Watts of Wash. U 6-3, 6-0.

Brittany Berckes advanced to the Quarterfinals of both the singles
and doubles National Tournaments today.

Chafetz, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, took his opening frame against Perez-Borja 6-2, before closing out his opening round match in straight sets with a 6-4 win.  In the Round of 16, Chafetz took the court against Tommy Meyer from Pomona-Pitzer. The second-year Amherst star needed an extra game to polish off Meyer in the opening set, 7-5, before advancing to the Quarterfinal Round with a 6-4 second set win. Chafetz will take on Bowdoin’s Stephen Sullivan tomorrow in the Quarterfinals at 9 a.m.

In a surprising result this afternoon, Chafetz and Sorrel’s doubled tournament lasted just one day, as the two fell to the pair of Evan Goff and Kaz Murata from Mary Washington University 6-3, 6-4 in the Round of 16.

Danzig took on Jennifer Kung from Chicago in her opening round singles match, while Berckes had to face Ellen Yeatman of Washington and Lee. Today’s match was the second time in as many days that Danzig and Kung would face one another, with Danzig having helped Amherst to a win over Chicago in the Consolation Match of the Team Championship yesterday by beating Kung 7-5, 7-5. In a reversal of yesterday’s result, Kung took the opening set 6-2, before being forced into a second-set tiebreaker by Danzig. Danzig pulled out a 7-2 win in the tiebreaker to force a third set, but quickly fell behind 2-0 after Kung broke her serve early on. Kung held Danzig off for a 6-3 win in the third frame, ending the Amherst sophomore’s singles tournament run.

Berckes won her opening set against Yeatman 6-2, and jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set on some strong play from the senior quad-captain.  Berckes closed out the straight set win with a 6-1 score in the second, advancing to the Round of 16 where she would face the No. 2 seed, Kendra Higgins from Chicago. In yesterday’s match with Chicago, Higgins topped Berckes 6-4, 6-4. Berckes won her first set against Higgins 7-5, but things looked grim after Berckes dropped the second set 0-6. The Amherst senior extended her singles tournament life with another 7-5 win in the third frame, setting the table for a match against Kristin Alotta from Williams in the Quarterfinals tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

In women’s doubles action, Berckes and Danzig took on Chapman’s Liz Lewis and Kelley Fox in the Round of 16. The Lord Jeff duo pulled out a 7-5 win in the first set, before being forced to a tiebreaker in the second set. Berckes and Danzig were dominant in the tiebreaker, winning 7-3 to take the match and advance to the Quarterfinals.  The pair will have to take on Denison’s Kristin Cobb and Marta Drane tomorrow to advance to the Semifinals.