M. TENNIS | One pair still standing in tournament

After a day of crippling losses for men’s tennis, only one doubles pair — Daniel Hoffman ’13 and Marc Powers ’13 — remains in the bracket.

Three singles players and one doubles pair dropped out of the qualifying round of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championship in Tulsa, Okla. on Tuesday. Despite the losses, three players and head coach Alex Dorato said they were happy with the team’s performance in such a difficult tournament.

“I would say really it’s about improving and putting yourself against the top players,” Dorato said. “The idea is to get used to playing [at] that level.”

The only Eli not to automatically place into the qualifying draw of the competition based on past performance at other tournaments, John Huang ’13 fought through the three-round pre-qualifying draw on Saturday and Sunday. Huang won four straight matches over the weekend, but Tuesday, No. 1 seed Idan Mark from Tulane cut his streak short in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2.

Teammates Powers and Hoffman and doubles pair Erik Blumenkranz ’12 and Joel Samaha ’12 were also eliminated from the tournament Tuesday.

“It was obviously really good competition,” Huang said “but I think that it’s just good to get in a lot of tough matches — there’s other good players in the Northeast for us to play, but to get used to playing at a higher level helps later in the season.”

Still, Huang and his teammates said they were happy with the way they had played.

After what Huang called a “pretty tough match” against UT Arlington’s Sebastian Gomez, which he won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, he sailed through his next two matches in straight sets.

“John did really well — to win any matches out here is impressive, and to win the amount he did is amazing,” Hoffman said.

Huang’s success, however, was offset by the string of disappointing results from Tuesday’s play.

Powers fell to BYU’s Georgy Batrakov 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, while the University of Tulsa’s Grant Ive beat Hoffman 6-4, 6-4. Blumenkranz and Samaha, meanwhile, lost to their Texas A&M opponents 8-0.

The players who did not attend the tournament have also showed strength in the past weeks, Dorato said, adding that the performances of freshman players at the Sept. 23-25 USTA Invitational tournament demonstrated their ability to compete at the Ivy League level.

But Dorato added that the team needs to become stronger and faster if the players want to capitalize on the team’s depth.

While this weekend’s competition tested the top end of Yale’s team, the Oct. 8-9 Cornell Invitational will involve the teammates who did not compete this weekend, Hoffman said, though he added that captain Blumenkranz might still be competing.

The Bulldogs will return to Ithaca the following week for the Oct. 13-16 USTA Regional Championship. Three players interviewed said this past weekend’s competition was good preparation for the coming matches.

“I think it’s great to have events like [the ITA All-American Championships],” Hoffman said. “It’ll be a lot easier [to win] once we go back to playing in the Northeast.”

The Elis will finish off the month with the Connecticut State Championship starting on Oct. 28.

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