Four down, three to go and still perfect.
The Yale women’s tennis team reached the halfway mark of their Ivy season this weekend, going on the road to face Cornell Friday and Columbia on Sunday. Both matches were victories for Yale (9-8, 4-0 Ivy) — a 5-2 victory over the Big Red and a tight 4-3 win to top the Lions. With their two wins, the Elis remain a spotless 4-0 in the Ivy League and are on a four-game win streak.
“I was very happy with the wins this weekend, especially because they forced us to come together collectively as a team,” Rashmee Patil ’07 said. “We haven’t really been put in high pressure situations, so to come out victorious was even more encouraging.”
The 5-2 win over Cornell (6-8, 1-4) did not come easily. Two Bulldogs needed three sets to finish off their Big Red opponents. At the number-two singles spot, captain Karlyn Martin ’04 recovered from losing the first set 6-7 (2) in a tiebreak to take the second set in resounding 6-1 fashion. The end was close, but Martin emerged a 7-5 victor in set three.
In the number-five slot, Patil took the first set 6-3 but lost a second set tiebreak 6-7 (4). Despite the potential momentum loss, Patil recovered and took the final set in a dominating 6-1 performance.
The other Eli victories came in straight-set wins from Reshmi Srinath ’05 at the third spot, Ashley Martin ’04 at number four and Olivia Nix ’07 in the sixth slot.
Although the doubles team of Patil and Aimee Kim ’07 took their match 8-6, the Big Red took the first and third doubles matches to take the doubles point.
In the league basement and a three-contest slump, Columbia (9-8, 1-5) looked to be the weaker opponent of the weekend. But that did not stop the Lions from forcing Yale to its closest win of the season on Saturday.
The Eli win would not have come without clutch performances from two unlikely sources.
In a reverse of Friday’s results, Bulldog first and third doubles teams found victory. The first doubles team of the Martin twins won 8-3 and the team of Alford and Nix provided an 8-4 win at the third spot. In taking two of the three doubles matches, Yale won the doubles point for the first time since they did so March 28 at BU.
Second, playing in her first singles match since spring break, Kim pulled out a huge three-set victory to win the deciding fourth point.
“Aimee Kim had an awesome match at number six singles to seal our tie against Columbia,” Alford said. “It was the last match on court, so there was a lot of pressure on her. She really stepped up and played an awesome third set to win the match.”
Playing at the sixth spot, Kim lost the first set 4-6. But she recovered to reverse that tally and take the second 6-4, then cleaned up with a powerful 6-1 finish.
“It always feels good to win your match and contribute to the team,” Kim said. “But having your teammates swarm you after you win tells you that the match was a little more special than usual.”
The other two Bulldog points came from Srinath, who won in perfect 6-0, 6-0 form at the third spot, and Patil, who took the number five singles match 6-3, 6-1.
In other league play this weekend, the previously Ivy-undefeated No. 68 Dartmouth suffered two upsets. With the Big Green losses, the Bulldogs now share the top spot with Harvard, Yale’s final opponent of the season. The Elis face the Crimson April 25 at home.
The Bulldogs’ next opponent is Brown, today, at home. The Bears (9-9, 1-3) are 1-6 in their last seven. But the Bulldogs have learned from this weekend that what one sees on paper is not always what one meets on the court.
“The key is to not underestimate any opponent because every team is potentially dangerous,” Patil said. “Brown has a tough team, but I think we will come out with a win if we keep playing the way we have been recently.”
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