Freshman Evan Yu trudges back towards the sixth court to continue his game with doubles partner junior Kevin Tan. Along the way, he stops by the fence — where his older sister senior Emilie Yu stands, watching the match.
“[I’m] playing the worst match in my life,” he said.
“It’s okay Evan, you got this!” senior Emilie said, cheering her younger brother on, outside the gray wired fence.
During the second home meet of the season on March 9, the MVHS’ varsity boys tennis team played Homestead HS in four singles and three doubles matches. The Matadors pulled ahead triumphantly in four of these matches for a close 4-3 finish over the opposition.
With the absence of No. 2 singles player Michael Wan, set lineups were rearranged, with juniors Lenny Lin, Michael Wu and David Zhang shifting from their original positions. Michael Wu, junior Ryan Loke’s usual doubles partner, played as the No. 4 singles player. Michael Wu successfully defeated his opponent in two sets, with scores of 6-4 and 6-0. However, he played a largely defensive game, and hopes to play more aggressively and cut to the net more in future matches.
On the other hand, No. 2 doubles players Tan and Evan managed to pull out a narrow victory against their opponents, who matched them nearly stroke for stroke. Tan and Evan finished with set scores 6-4 and 7-5.
Junior David Zhang, the Matador’s No. 3 player in singles, believes that his backhand and volleys were his greatest weaknesses against Homestead. Zhang came into the match with the expectation of a close score — he knew the games would be competitive. Zhang lost his first set 1-6.
“I heard that [the]player that I played was pretty good,” Zhang said. “So I came into the match pretty nervous in the beginning… But then I told myself, ‘Don’t be nervous, even if you lose, it’s fine.’ That allowed me to play better and loosen up.”
Zhang was able to pull through to make a strong comeback in the second and third sets with 6-1 and 6-2 victories.
Freshman Jeremy Wu — Loke’s newly-assigned doubles partner for the match — and Loke also both initially expected a tough match, but soon discovered that their opponents were less competitive than they originally thought.
“Our opponents weren’t the best players in the world,” Loke said. “And Jeremy and I, despite never playing together ever — this is our first time playing together — we played very well together and we had good synergy as a team.”
Wu and Loke won in two sets, with scores 6-1 and 6-2. However, Tan and Evan, along with No. 3 doubles players Kishan Aryasomayajula and Neil Palleti did not snatch clean victories as Loke expected; the No. 3 doubles players lost their third set 8-10 after two sets with scores 5-7 and 6-4.
The close outcome of the match did not surprise varsity coach Steve Wayrynen, who plans on experimenting with different lineups. However, he still is confident in his players’ abilities.
“I think the other teams need to experiment against us,” Wayrynen said. “Because we’re probably better than the other teams, so it’s up to them to change their lineups.”