TENNIS: Mixed weekend for Bulldogs

Yale Tennis entered the middle stretch of its Ivy League season this past weekend. Both Eli teams took on Cornell and Columbia, with the men hosting their competition at home, while the women’s squad traveled on a two-match road trip. The results of the weekend were mixed, as the men’s team fell to both squads while the women posted two impressive wins.

The men’s team began its weekend by taking on a favored No. 52 Cornell team. When doubles competition began, it appeared as though Cornell would run away with the day’s victory. The Big Red won its first doubles contest 8–1 and its second 8–5, taking the doubles point and an early lead over the Bulldogs.

When singles play began, however, the Elis started to mount a comeback. Tyler Lu ’17 pulled out a decisive 6–2, 6–3 win at the No. 1 spot, while Daniel Faierman ’15 put away Cornell’s Bernardo Casares Rosa with another straight sets win. Unfortunately for the Elis, they fell one singles win short of total victory against Cornell, winning three-of-six and falling 3–4 to the Big Red, with their doubles defeat proving the deciding point in Saturday’s heartbreaking loss.

The next day, Yale looked to bounce back against Columbia. Unfortunately for Yale, the No. 17 Lions are one of the strongest teams in the nation, and they thrashed the Elis in a 4–0 win to extend their winning streak to 16 matches. Though only four individual matches were finished on the day, Columbia won all of them comfortably, securing the doubles point with 8–1 and 8–2 victories and the three singles points with decisive straight sets wins. The two-loss weekend dropped the men’s team to 7th place in the Ivy League.

The women’s tennis squad posted a successful weekend of competition against Cornell and Columbia. In the first contest of their road trip, the Elis posted an impressive 6–1 win over Cornell, taking the doubles point with two 8–6 wins and then conceding only one singles win to the Big Red. In singles play, Hanna Yu ’15 led the charge at the No. 1 spot with an impressive 6–3, 6–3 win, while Ree Ree Li ’16 posted the most dominant victory of the afternoon, winning 6–0, 6–3. Sherry Li ’17 also stepped up, pulling out a 3–6, 7–5, 1–0 comeback win at the No. 5 spot. Yale’s big 6–1 win over the Big Red gave them momentum heading into a tough Sunday matchup against a heavily favored Columbia squad.

Though the No. 33 Lions may have appeared the stronger team on paper, the results on the courts proved quite different, as No. 59 Yale upset its Ivy opponents in a 5–2 win that pushed it to 3–1 in Ancient Eight play.

“The match against Columbia was high–pressure, high–stakes and could not have been more fun,” Caroline Lynch ’17 said. “We lost to them in the final of the ECAC tournament this year in February on the same courts and that had been motivating us for this match. Every single person on [Yale women’s tennis] did her job on Sunday and the results showed in our win.”

Though Columbia comfortably took home the doubles point with 8–2 and 8–4 wins, the Elis mounted a shocking comeback in singles play. Yu stepped up once again with a 6–4, 6–4 win over Kanika Vaidya, the 80th ranked player in the nation.

Ree Ree Li also pulled out an impressive win, coming back from a 2–6 first set loss to secure a gritty 2–6, 7–5, 6–4 match victory. Sherry Li proved herself once more with a 1–6, 6–2, 6–3 win at the No. 5 spot that helped cement the Eli victory. With the win, the Bulldogs moved to No. 3 in the Ivy League with three matches left to play.

“Last weekend was a ton of fun and we’re all so proud that everyone was able to step it up at big moments,” Sherry Li said. “It was a great confidence booster and has made us even more determined to bring the same performance level to the many Ivy conference matches we have coming up.”

The Elis’ next matches come against Dartmouth on Friday, April 18. The women’s team will travel to Hanover, N.H., while the men will host their opponents at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.

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