Tennis concludes play at Penn Invitational

Freshman Hicham Belkssir won his first collegiate match in an exhibition.

Freshman Hicham Belkssir won his only match today, defeating Norfolk State’s Peter Pello 7-5, 7-5 at the Penn Invitational. Belkssir said he was happy to come away with his first college victory.

“First set, I wasn’t playing really good,” Belkssir said. [Pello] was leading 4-2, he broke my serve. Then it was quite good.”

Belkssir was not expected to play today due to a twisted right ankle. When he decided he could play, a consolation match was scheduled.

“What we did is have him run around and we had him taped,” head coach Steve Mauro said. “And we figured we’d give it a shot if it felt okay.”

“I twisted it three days ago, and they taped it for me,” Belkssir said. “It still hurts, but when it’s taped, it doesn’t move. At least I can play a little bit.

Sophomore Kristian Marquart lost a long match 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 to Ivan Kravtchenko of Brown. The match was the final of one of the consolation brackets.

“I played well. Match was great, it was very, very close,” Marquart said. “I had two match points. I could have won. I didn’t. But the match was very good. I played against a very tough guy.”

“In the first set he was a little bit shaky,” Mauro said. “Second set, we came up with a game plan that seemed to work pretty well. Third set really could have gone either way. [Kravtchenko] came up with some big shots. It was unfortunate that a player had to lose.”

At one point, the match got heated. Marquart and Kravtchenko disagreed over some line calls, and some of Kravtchenko’s teammates were loudly cheering him on from the adjacent court before Mauro asked them to move to a different area. Marquart said that the unrest did not bother him.

“This can happen when it’s close and balls on the line are usually out and stuff like that,” Marquart said. “This is how college tennis usually is, so it didn’t really affect my score.”

“He handled it pretty well,” Mauro said.

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

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.