Ruderman NCAA tennis

Senior Alex Ruderman serves to an opponent at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) South Region Championships, held at the Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC) last weekend. Ruderman finished first in singles play and, paired with senior Ian Wagner, first in doubles play at the tournament. / Photo courtesy of Emory Athletics

The Emory men’s tennis team began its season last weekend, hosting 14 other schools in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) South Region Championships. The singles portion of the tournament was won by senior Alex Ruderman and the doubles was won by Ruderman and senior Ian Wagner.

On the line was a trip to the National Small College Championships, which will be held in Sumter, S.C. in October. Emory had three of the top four seeds in the singles event and also had six doubles teams competing.

Emory Head Coach John Browning felt the entirety of the team had a strong offseason, showing that they were “committed to the game and to being better,” he said.

The team has also been hard at work in the last few weeks, preparing for this tournament, Browning said. The Eagles had a successful first day of the tournament, as the singles round of 16 contained nine Emory players. Five of the eight remaining doubles teams were also from Emory.

On the second day, Emory continued to impress. The semifinal matchups were both all Eagles, with Ruderman facing junior Rafe Mosetick and Wagner playing against fellow senior Eric Halpern, the defending champion in the event. In the doubles event, the only remaining teams were the number one pairing of Ruderman and Wagner, who played a team from North Carolina Wesleyan College.
The third day included the semifinals and finals. In one of the semifinal matches, Ruderman narrowly beat Mosetick in two sets, 7-5, 6-4, a match which Browning called “high-level tennis.”

The other match saw Halpern move past Wagner 6-3, 6-4. In the final, Ruderman was able to beat Wagner in another close contest, pulling ahead 7-6, 6-4.  Browning praised Ruderman’s win, explaining that Ruderman had been in a similar position two years ago, yet lost in a heartbreaker. To win the event in such a fashion displayed Ruderman’s ability to, “persevere and win it,” and that it was great to see the senior have a, “fitting end in this event,” Browning said.

Ruderman’s success continued in the double’s competition, as he teamed with Wagner to beat the second seeded pair from North Carolina Wesleyan of Robert Kjellberg and Sebastian Sikh. Ruderman and Wagner won 8-3, after pulling out to a 5-0 lead.  With their win, both Ruderman and Wagner will advance to the ITA Small College National Championships in early October. Ruderman will also compete in the singles event.

“Ruderman and I played well all weekend and were about to close out,” Wagner said.

Browning took a lot of positives from this tournament, which he expects to be invaluable as the regular season rolls around.

“[The players] became a team and learned to support each other,” he said.

The tournament also displayed the stamina and dedication of this year’s team.

“I think it shows that our fitness is strong since we had some guys play nine or 10 matches,” Wagner said.

The team also competed in a “B” tournament, in which David Omsky defeated fellow freshman March Zheng to be crowned champion.

Aside from the winners of the regional event, who are advancing to Nationals, the team will compete in a local tournament, to be announced, this fall before the season picks up in the spring.​

– By Oliver Rockman, Staff Writer

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