Three Elis compete in finals

Victoria Brook ’12 lost during the first day of competition this weekend, but she came back Sunday in her consolation matches.
Victoria Brook ’12 lost during the first day of competition this weekend, but she came back Sunday in her consolation matches. Photo by Jane Darby Menton.

The Yale women’s tennis team enjoyed a confidence-bolstering performance at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Invitational this weekend.

Seven Yale women’s tennis players traveled to the New York City’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to compete against 21 other schools in the 2011 USTA Invitational. Amber Li ’15, captain Stephanie Kent ’12 and Annie Sullivan ’14 advanced to finals in their flight — the individual skill groups in which players compete — and Sullivan emerged as champion of the fourth flight after having played against her captain, Kent.

“The tournament was a really high standard,” Victoria Brook ’12 said, “It was a great opportunity to play tough matches right before regionals.”

The competition lasted from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10. While three singles players went to the finals, the doubles pairs all dropped out before the final round. After the first day, the Bulldogs emerged with a winning record, 4-3 in singles and 4-2 in doubles.

Li, Kent and Sullivan won their matches in straight sets, and Sarah Guzick ’13 also won her first match. Blair Seideman ’14 and Hanna Yu ’15 lost their two sets. (Seideman is a staff photographer for the News.)

In doubles, the teams of Brook and Yu and of Kent and Seideman both were victorious in one of their two matches. Li and Sullivan were undefeated, going 8-5 in their first match and 8-3 in their second.

But Brook said the team was disappointed with its losses and felt it could have played better. After losing her first set and making a comeback in the second, Brook fell 10-6 in the final set.

Brook said the team meets every game as a new opportunity to succeed.

“You have to go into every match with a good, positive attitude and try to capitalize on the opportunity,” she said.

The team forged ahead into the second day of competition, and Li, Sullivan and Kent continued their winning streak in the singles tournament while two of three doubles pairs advanced to the consolation finals.

Li defeated Northern Texas’ Paula Dinuta in quarterfinals, advancing to semifinals where she took down Princeton’s Katherine Flanigan, securing her spot in finals. Sullivan and Kent both emerged victorious in their quarterfinals, advancing to semifinals the next day.

“Going into the second day we were looking to really try to focus on playing better, using a lot of the stuff we had been working on in practice and perfecting our game,” Seideman said. “I felt like I definitely improved over the weekend.”

Although Seideman lost in both doubles and singles on the first day, she won her match in the consolation bracket without dropping a single game.

Brook, also recovering from a disappointing first day, triumphed in both of her matches in the consolation bracket and advanced to the consolation finals to play Harvard’s Hannah Morrill. But both Yu and Guzick fell to opponents.

Three players said the team improved over the three days and the team ended the tournament on a strong, uplifting note, especially because three team members made it to the finals —where teammates Sullivan and Kent faced each other.

“It’s never ideal to be playing your teammate because we work so hard together every day,” Kent said. “But it’s a great experience.”

Brook, Kent and Seideman all said this weekend gave them confidence going into their upcoming regionals competition.

“Gradually we all just got better and better” Kent said, “I’m extremely excited about regionals. Based on our performance this weekend, I think we’re going to do extremely well.”

Yale will host the North East Regional Championships starting Oct. 21.

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