MEN’S TENNIS | Freshmen make immediate impact for Elis

After a solid team performance at its first tournament of the year over the weekend, the men’s tennis team will return to New Haven this weekend to host the Ivy Plus Invitational.
After a solid team performance at its first tournament of the year over the weekend, the men’s tennis team will return to New Haven this weekend to host the Ivy Plus Invitational. Photo by Kamaria Greenfield.

A week ago, Alex Hagermoser ’17 tried out for the men’s tennis team as a walk-on. On Sunday, he left the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational with the most wins out of the entire Yale squad.

The men’s tennis team rebounded from a poor showing on Friday to turn in a solid team performance over the weekend. Hagermoser, who advanced to the semifinals of the main singles draw, notched three victories in the tournament, though captain Kyle Dawson ’14 lost in the consolation singles final.

“Despite a tough first round for all players, it was important that we bounced back in the second rounds,” Dawson said. “As it was the first tournament of the year and our first matches, I am not too concerned with the early results.”

The opening day of the invitational featured five singles players and two doubles teams from Yale, all of whom lost by the end of the day’s competition. The duo of James Ratchford ’17 and Tommy Ratchford ’14 notched the Elis’ only main-draw victory of the day, defeating NYIT’s Thomas Lieb and Julio Marcon, 8-2. The Ratchford brothers then lost a tightly contested second-round match to Andrew Berman and Zach Lessen of Penn, 8-7(3).

After dropping his opening-round match, Dawson regrouped to cruise through the singles consolation bracket, notching a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Octavio Canibe of Bucknell in the semifinals. In the final Dawson stormed out to take the first set 6-1 but ultimately fell short of the consolation crown, losing 1-6, 6-3, 1-0(8) to Ismael Dinia of Binghamton.

The story of the weekend, though, was Hagermoser’s performance. In his collegiate debut, the walk-on posted an impressive victory over a fellow Ivy League player as he bested Princeton’s El Mo Tonbario 6-5(4), 6-4. Building on the momentum of his first-round victory, Hagermoser cruised past his quarterfinal opponent Akil Mehta of Buffalo, 6-4, 6-1. In the semifinals, Hagermoser posted his fifth consecutive set victory, taking the first from Columbia’s Richard Pham 6-3. He conceded the match, however, losing in three sets 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

On Sunday, Hagermoser took the court again for an extra match against Florin Radu, also of Princeton. He completed the weekend in excellent form, winning 6-3, 6-3 to finish with a 3-1 record.

“Alex is a great competitor and a very hard worker,” head coach Alex Dorato said. “He knows what works best for himself, and he is disciplined about sticking to it. I was definitely pleased with his outstanding performance.”

While Hagermoser’s impressive run overshadowed a disappointing team performance, the group’s morale was not dampened by the unfavorable results.

Zach Krumholz ’15 said the team doesn’t read too much into the first tournament of the season.

“Generally, I am optimistic about the season,” Krumholz said. “We may not have had the best results this weekend, but it has motivated us and we will continue to work hard and improve.”

The Bulldogs return to New Haven this weekend to host the Ivy Plus Invitational, a new tournament on the fall calendar, with matches starting on Friday, Sept. 20.

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