The Yale men’s tennis team stepped up its game this weekend on their home courts at the Connecticut State Championships. Three of four singles semifinalists were Elis, and Yale captured all four spots among the doubles teams in the semifinal round.
The tournament featured matches against intrastate rivals Quinnipiac, Fairfield, Sacred Heart, the University of Connecticut and the University of Hartford.
Connor Dawson ’10 stole the show by walking away with both a singles and a doubles victory in the final round. After beating UConn’s Andrew Marcus 6-1, 7-6 in the semifinal round, he faced off against fellow Bulldog Tom Santoro ’09 and won the match with a final score 6-3, 6-2. Dawson also won the doubles draw with partner Calvin Bennett ’11 in another Yale vs. Yale contest, against Josh Lederman ’09 and Ryan Berman ’11.
“It was definitely different,” Santoro said of the match against his own teammate. “We play each other in practice fairly often but rarely in a tournament setting do we have to play each other. Both of us might have been a little bit nervous at the start. But he was hitting the ball really well — it was hard to play him.”
After a tough battle in the Wilson/ITA Regionals last weekend, the men sought to improve their doubles game, which will be the key to winning an Ivy League title in the spring. It seems that they were able to not only improve their doubles, but also reduce unforced errors in their singles matches.
Another factor that contributed to the Bulldog’s momentum this weekend was the fact that head coach Alex Dorato mixed up the pairings for the doubles teams.
“This weekend showed that there are a lot of different people that can play with each other,” Jordan Abergel ’11 said. “We’re all feeding off of each other.”
According to the players, the outstanding results of this tournament were a product of the work they’ve been doing for the entire fall season. This weekend’s tournament marked the end of the current season, and the Bulldogs will reemerge in January for the start of their Ivy League run.
“It was great to get in some last matches and end on a good note,” Santoro said. “We know what we need to work on for the spring season.”
The men agree that, despite an impressive performance given by their doubles teams this weekend, they should continue to strengthen this aspect of the game. Abergel said that a lot of the team’s spring success will rely on their doubles lineups.
The final performance delivered by the Elis this weekend has given them the momentum they need to be excited about the upcoming season, Dorato said. The fall term was the opportunity for trying different combinations of players, but the Ivy series will be more competitive, even among members of the team itself.
“It’s a good problem that we have more good doubles players than we have doubles spots,” Dorato said.
In the new year, the Bulldogs will begin with a scrimmage against Brown in New Haven.