The men’s tennis team split a pair of a close decisions to open Ivy League play last weekend.

The Bulldogs upset No. 61 Penn, 4-3, Friday at the Cullman Courts and played several hard-fought matches against Princeton Saturday before falling to the Tigers, 4-3.

Despite losing the doubles point, the Elis (5-10, 1-1 Ivy) won four of the six singles matches in their victory over the Quakers (13-5, 1-2). Brandon Wai ’07, Milosz Gudzowski ’06 and Rory Green ’08 prevailed in straight sets while Rowan Reynolds ’06 needed three sets to dispose of Penn’s Justin Lavner.

But the Bulldogs’ inability to win the doubles point proved crucial in Saturday’s match against the Tigers (12-6, 1-2). The Elis won their No. 1, 2, and 4 singles matches, but Princeton won two of the three doubles matches to take the doubles point and the win.

“The doubles matches were crucial,” Ryan Murphy ’05 said. “We split the singles matches, but for the doubles a few big points here and there didn’t go our way.”

Yale’s only doubles win came from Gudzowski and Green, who won the No. 3 match 9-8 against Princeton’s Darius Craton and Ted Mabrey.

Green said that Princeton’s unique doubles strategy helped the Tigers to win the doubles point and the match.

“Princeton has a very distinctive doubles style,” Green said. “They hit their serves straight down the middle and know how to play a tough net game.”

Wai and his partner Murphy lost a close match for the No. 1 doubles spot, falling 9-8 to Andrew Lieu and Hans Plakus.

Reynolds and Chris Lawler ’07 lost to Sratha Saengsuwarn and Joshua Burman in the No. 2 doubles spot. Reynolds and Lawler also lost the No. 3 and No. 6 singles matches respectively.

Wai, who is ranked 78th in the nation in singles, won his No. 1 singles match, 6-4, 6-4, against Burman. Murphy also won his match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, against Craton to clinch the No. 2 spot.

Gudzowski pulled through on a difficult 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 match against Plukas, winning the No. 4 spot in a tiebreaker in the third set.

Despite the hard loss, the team is still optimistic as it heads into its next match at Columbia Friday.

“We beat the University of Pennsylvania, a very good team, the day before,” Murphy said. “It just shows that the league is wide open right now, it’s anyone’s game and this weekend we’ll show a lot we have to offer against Columbia.”

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