Gorelik leads men’s tennis in promising Wallach Invitational performances

Junior Niko Hereford prepares to return a shot during a doubles match against Bowdoin at the Voute Tennis Courts on April 28, 2018. Ben Kim / The Tufts Daily Archives

The Tufts men’s tennis team sent several athletes to Lewiston, Maine, to compete in the Wallach Invitational hosted by Bates College this weekend. 

From the moment he first stepped on the court for the Jumbos, sophomore Isaac Gorelik has dug deep to deliver day in and day out. The Weston, Mass., native has accumulated an outstanding 10–2 win-loss record in singles match play this season.

The sophomore sensation has shown no signs of slowing down this fall. At the Wallach Invitational this weekend, Gorelik fought back from down a set against sophomore Evan Fortier of Bowdoin to win, 4–6, 6–2, 10–7, in the semifinals. In the finals, Gorelik competed hard but eventually fell to senior Scott Altmeyer of Colby, 7–6 (7), 6–4.

Just a few weeks ago on Sept. 15, Gorelik took two titles at the Middlebury Invitational. The Jumbo broke past first-year Stan Morris of the Middlebury Panthers in the A Flight Singles championship, 6–1, 3–6, 10–6. Gorelik also won the B Flight Doubles championship with his partner, sophomore Jack Moldenhauer.

Senior co-captain Ethan Bershtein revealed what enables Gorelik to consistently bring out his best tennis.

“He’s just really disciplined with his game plan,” Bershtein said. “Very rarely does he ever go for a stupid shot. He keeps his backhand really deep and with a lot of spin and then attacks with his forehand when he gets an opportunity. He’s got so much talent off that forehand.”

Prior to Saturday’s tournament, Gorelik spoke about the goals that kept him motivated going into the season.

“One of my main goals this summer was to keep the momentum going from last season,” Gorelik said.

Other Jumbos made deep runs as well at the Bates Invitational, with three other singles athletes advancing to the semifinals of their own draws. In the C Singles Flight quarterfinals, Bershtein downed sophomore Colt Tegtmeier of Brandeis University (6–2, 6–2), while senior Ben Biswas defeated sophomore Dylan Payne of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (5–7, 7–6 (5), 10–4). Both Jumbos eventually fell in the semifinals. Biswas took the first set in his semifinal match, but he eventually lost 3–6, 6–2, 10–4, while Bershtein lost in his semifinal match in straight sets, 6–3, 6–4.

Bershtein later reflected back on his win over Tegtmeier.

“I definitely played well against [Tegtmeier],” Bershtein said. “The coaches gave me a good game plan. In the semis, it was definitely tough, and I kind of came out a little flat. But it was still a good tournament.”

Sophomore Akash Verma advanced over his opponents in both the D singles round of 16 and quarterfinal, consecutively defeating Trinity sophomore Ryan McGarvey (6–3, 6–3) and Skidmore College sophomore Connor Biernat (6–2, Retired).

In the B Singles Flight on Saturday, junior Niko Hereford and Moldenhauer won their round of 16 matches. First-year Matt Cashin won in the D Singles Flight round of 16. Bershtein and first-year Josh Belandres won a match 8–6 in the A Doubles Flight against the Colby duo of  Altmeyer and first-year Jan Wenger but fell in the quarterfinals to the Skidmore duo of junior Suraj Mahtani and first-year Alper Kulturel by a score of 8–7 (0).

Gorelik capped off his day with a solid performance alongside doubles partner sophomore Paris Pentousis. Combining in the A Doubles Flight, the classmates were able to secure an 8–4 victory over the Colby duo of sophomore Max Schuermann and first-year Ben Powis. Gorelik and Pentousis then narrowly advanced past the quarterfinals by a count of 8–7 (1) but were ultimately defeated by the Bowdoin duo of sophomore Oscar Yang and first-year Tristan Bradley in the semifinal, 8–6. Yang and Bradley advanced to win the A doubles championship.

Despite a slightly disappointing showing at the Wallach Invitational, Bershtein noted how he’s been overall very satisfied with the team’s performance this fall.

“[The] Middlebury [Invitational] was awesome. We came out and played really well as a team. We sent a message that we’re gonna be around this year and give everyone trouble. At [the] Bates [Invitational] we definitely didn’t collectively meet our expectations. We didn’t do all the little things as well as we could. We got to be making sure we stick to our game plan, making sure we stay solid,” Bershtein said.

The Jumbos will be back on the court to head to the Wesleyan Invitational on Oct. 19–20 for their last team tournament of the fall preseason. Prior to the fall finale, in what will be the most anticipated event of the fall preseason, junior co-captain Boris Sorkin will advance to the ITA Cup Div. III Singles Championship on Oct. 17, where he will compete against the top players in the country and look to defend his title as the best singles player in Div. III tennis.

Heading into the final tournament of the fall, Bershtein also expressed the team’s excitement leading up to the Wesleyan Invitational and spring season.

“It’s a really good tournament to see where we stand,” Bershtein said. “I think that’s a really good litmus test for the rest of the year. Everyone’s really fired up for that. Last year we had so many 5-4 loss heartbreakers. I think for the first time in my four years we’re really locked in. A lot of those guys like Jack and Paris got another year of experience under their belts, and we got some really good [first-years]. We can definitely challenge the traditional powerhouses in the NESCAC this year.”