The Yale men’s tennis team is still trying to get into the swing of things this semester after a weekend of mixed results.
On Friday, the Bulldogs dominated Rutgers at Yale’s Cullman Courts by a score of 7-0, dropping only one set as they sailed to their first spring-season victory. But the team lost in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday to the U.S. Military Academy at the Lichtenberg Tennis Center in West Point, N.Y.
Yale’s top two singles players, Brandon Wai ’07 and Ryan Murphy ’05, both won their Friday matches in straight sets. Wai trounced Rutgers’ No. 1 Tyler Deming, 6-1, 6-2, while Murphy took down Gordie Milchusky 6-3, 6-1.
Yale’s No. 3 Milosz Gudzowski ’06 defeated Rutgers’ Matt Fawcett, who retired during the second set, 6-1, 4-1. In a closer match, Rowan Reynolds ’06 bested Arjun Vaidya 6-4, 7-5.
Rory Green ’08 lost his first set 4-6 but came back for a decisive 6-0 victory in the second and won a dramatic 11-9 tie-break.
Green said although he got off to a rough start, he gained momentum that helped him secure the second-set shutout.
“I kind of was having trouble with my serve, but once I started playing more aggressively I really got a hold on the game,” he said.
In addition, No. 6 Johnny Lu ’05 beat Rutgers’ Gabe Adams 6-1, 6-4.
The Elis also dominated in doubles, winning all three of their matches 8-3 and earning the doubles point.
The team expected the victory over Rutgers, Gudzowski said.
“We were heavy favorites and we played to that standard,” he said. “We were supposed to win, and we won pretty easily.”
But wins did not come as easily against Army, as the Black Knights split the singles matches and took two of three doubles matches to edge out a victory over the Elis Saturday.
Again Yale’s No. 1 and No. 2 defeated their opponents in straight sets. Wai out-scored John Houghton 6-2, 6-3, while Murphy beat Carl Fisher 6-2, 6-4.
Wai, who is still recovering from the flu, said he was not performing at his peak on either day.
“I’m still not as playing as well as I want to play, but I played well enough to win,” he said.
Lu also secured a win over Army’s Eddie Kang after a 7-5, 6-4 battle, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Knights.
Army captain Sebastian Salas defeated Gudzowski 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a declining match, the final singles face-off of the day. With a little more luck, Gudzowski said, the contest could have gone his way.
“My opponent was a really good player, and overall, Army was a really good team,” he said. “I played with all I had, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Army’s No. 4 and No. 5 singles players defeated the Bulldogs in straight sets to secure the 3-3 split. Michael Good beat Reynolds 6-0, 6-4, while Kyle Roybal took Green 6-4, 6-4.
While Yale’s top doubles team earned a convincing win, Army came out ahead, taking the No. 2 and No. 3 matches to secure the doubles point and a narrow victory over Yale.
Wai, a member of the No. 1 doubles team, said the Elis fought hard for the important doubles point but were unlucky.
“The two doubles matches that we lost were very close,” he said. “There were a few points here and there that could have gone either way.”
Gudzowski said the atmosphere in West Point was completely different from Friday’s match against Rutgers and might have given Army an advantage.
“They were on their home court and had all their fans there. I think that was part of the difference,” he said. “It was a really close match [and] disappointing to lose, but in the end we did our best, and that’s all we could do.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Blacksburg, Va. next weekend to face off against East Tennessee State and Virginia Tech.