Penn Invitational recap

Kacper Rams shines as Penn Invitational gets underway.

Senior Kacper Rams won his first round match today at the Penn Invitational, as he defeated Brendan Ruddock of Minnesota 6-7, 6-1, 1-0 (10-5). Head coach Steve Mauro has high hopes for Rams, moving forward in the tournament.

“I think Kacper has a really good chance to win the tournament,” Mauro said. “He’s been playing real well, been playing really smart, so I’m really optimistic about tomorrow’s match.”

Freshman Nicholas Paulus triumphed over Binghamton’s Bastian Bornkessel 7-5, 6-2.

“He’s playing pretty well,” Mauro said. “I think he has a good chance to continue in his bracket.”

Freshman Hicham Belkssir lost a close match to Minnesota’s Tucker Saxon 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (11-9). He injured his ankle during the match.

“[The injury] affected his tiebreaker performance,” Mauro said. “He’ll be out for a few days. He’s gonna take a couple days to heal.”

Sophomore Kristian Marquart was defeated by Juan Pablo Ramirez of Minnesota 6-3, 6-1. Mauro said that it wasn’t Marquart’s day.

“He played a good first set,” Mauro said. “His second set, he made too many errors. The opponent was pretty strong. I think on another day, he would probably fare better.”

Sophomore Hernan Vasconez lost to Princeton’s Michael Katz 6-3, 6-4. Despite the loss, Mauro is happy with Vasconez’s performance.

“He’s been having a real good fall,” Mauro said. “We expect him to get better and better.”

Freshman Maros Januvka lost to Paul Stauskas of Drexel 6-0, 6-3. This was Januvka’s first tournament.

“He started off real slow,” Mauro said. “He just has to get used to playing indoors, because we haven’t played indoors in a while. The courts were a little bit fast.”

There were three doubles matches today, and all of the Temple pairings played together for the first time.

“We’ve been experimenting with doubles,” Mauro said.

Paulus and Vasconez defeated Lawson Barter and Kevin Pijper of St. Francis (Pa.) 8-5 in the first round. In the second round, they lost 8-6 to Princeton’s Jonathan Carcione and Dan Richardson.

“Both of them played really well,” Mauro said. “I’m really happy with the way that team performed.”

Rams and Marquart lost to Buffalo’s Damien David and Ivan Veresch 8-4 in the second round. Rams and Marquart had a bye in round one.

“It could have gone either way,” Mauro said.” “They played pretty well.”

Belkssir and Januvka lost to Ruben Haggai and Florian van Kann of Binghamton 8-4 in the first round. Mauro said that the new pair had some growing pains.

“It was a little bit of an adjustment,” he said. “[It’s] something that we can work on.”

Evan Cross can be reached at or on Twitter @EvanCross.

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