In her first weekend of competitive tennis for the Bulldogs, Amber Li ’15 found herself down 6–0, 5–0, with two match points against her. But she found her feet and stormed back, claiming the set in a 10–8 tiebreaker and closing out the final 6–1, her comeback heralding the arrival of a freshman class that all saw wins this past weekend.
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While Li and Hanna Yu ’15 kicked off their Yale careers with 2–1 records at Sunday’s Yellowjacket Invitational in Atlanta, Ga., Daniel Faierman ’15 and Zachary Kurmholz ’15 tasted victory in the “B” doubles draw at the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational on Sunday. Their result was topped only by Marc Powers ’13 and Daniel Hoffman ’13, who struck decisively all throughout the day to claim the “A” doubles title, cementing a strong, but not necessarily indicative, opening day for both the men’s and women’s tennis squads, team members said.
“It’s the first tournament of the fall, which is never a great indication of how the rest of the season is going to go,” said Powers, who also finished runner-up in the “A” singles bracket. “We were all very impressed by the freshman who came out firing, they’re really going to add to the team’s depth this year.”
That same sentiment was shared by captain Erik Blumenkranz ’13, who said players are usually nervous and rusty when the season opens. While he also praised the strong performance of his team, he added that they still have a “lot of room for improvement.”
The men’s team will compete at the Sept. 23–25 USTA Invitational in Flushing, N.Y. before embarking towards the ITA All-American Championship with pre-qualifying rounds on Oct. 1-2 in Tulsa, Okla. The fall season, Blumenkranz said, will prepare the team well for spring competition, which kicks off Jan. 16 with a scrimmage against Brown.
“I think we have a very good shot to win the title this year, bouncing back from last year,” he said. The Elis ended last season ranked ninth in the ITA Northeast Region.
For the women’s team, which ended last year No. 31 in the nation, the matches against No. 8 University of Georgia, No. 13 Georgia Tech and unranked Oklahoma State over the weekend will serve as a launchpad for the rest of the season, said captain Stephanie Kent ’12.
Though the team went 1–2 to its rival schools in both singles and doubles competition, team members Vicky Brook ’12, Elizabeth Epstein ’13 and Blair Seideman ’14 said the team performed well, especially when pitted against such strongly ranked teams.
“These tougher matches in the fall help us in the long run because we are competing versus higher ranked teams compared to during Ivy season,” Seideman explained. (Seideman is a staff photographer for the News).
Sunday’s matches will also not go toward the Bulldogs’ overall season record, as part of the hidden dual tournament format, in which results only count towards individual records.
These early results, just like for the men, are not particularly indicative of how the team might fare in later season play, Kent said. She said the relative strength of Yale’s team will have crystallized by the ITA Regionals, which take place Oct. 21–25 at home.
Before that, the women’s squad will compete at the Oct. 1-5 ITA All-American Championship in Los Angeles, and the Oct. 8-10 USTA Invitational in Flushing, N.Y.
Correction: September 21,
An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Oklahoma State was ranked No. 24 in women’s tennis. The team is unranked.