Yale tennis kicked off Ivy League play this weekend, as both Bulldog teams took on Princeton and Penn to begin their respective quests for the Ivy League crown.

Yale’s women’s squad hosted its Ivy League rivals at home, while the men began their season with a two game road trip. Both teams split, falling to the Tigers but topping the Quakers.

The women’s team opened its weekend with a disappointing home loss to Princeton in a hotly contested 3–4 finish. The Elis began by playing doubles against the Tigers. Yale swept Princeton, riding an 8–6 victory by the duo of Annie Sullivan ’14 and Sherry Li ’17 and a dominant 8–1 win by Ree Ree Li ’16 and Hanna Yu ’15 to claim the doubles point.

“We did well to take the doubles point against them, we played really smart and strong tennis,” Caroline Lynch ’17 said.

Unfortunately for the Elis, this quick 1–0 lead did not last, and Princeton got the better of Yale in singles play. The Tigers ultimately felled the Bulldogs 4-2 in singles, with the only Yale victories coming at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. Ree Ree Li and Sullivan provided these two highlights, winning their matches in decisive straight sets triumphs.

“Our loss to Princeton was a big disappointment as it wasn’t how we wanted to start the Ivy League season,” Lynch said.

But Ree Ree Li said the loss will not dash the team’s hopes of winning the Ivy League title, and the Elis are determined to keep working hard and improving.

Improvement came quickly. The Elis pulled out a tough 4–3 win over the Penn Quakers the very next day, managing to come through in the same sort of closely contested situation that had been their downfall the day before. Once again, the Elis took the doubles point, but this time they made the most of their lead, holding on to win three of six singles matches. All of Yale’s singles wins came in straight sets. Yu won a tough matchup at the No. 2 spot 7–5, 7–5, while Sullivan produced an impressively dominant 6–1, 6–0 win at No. 3, helping cement the Bulldog victory.

While the men’s squad experienced similar results, the team’s contests unfolded in a different fashion. The weekend began with a disappointing 1-6 loss to the Tigers, during which Yale claimed only one singles win, a straight sets triumph by Zachary Krumholz ’15 at the No. 6 spot. The Elis also lost the doubles point, albeit narrowly, as they won one of the three matchups decisively and were defeated in another by the slimmest of margins, 7–8. Ultimately, the Tigers simply proved too much for the Elis to handle.

The men’s team responded admirably to the loss, defeating Penn 4–2 on the second day of the road swing. This time, the men claimed the doubles point, pulling out two clutch 8–7 wins to secure a crucial point. In singles, Tyler Lu ’17 regained his dominant form at the No. 1 spot, pulling off an impressive 6–3, 6–2 win in a much-needed victory for the Bulldogs. The Elis went on to win at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots as well. Martin Svenning ’16 managed a straight sets win at No. 2 to help push the Bulldogs forward, while Daniel Faierman ’15 came back from an early 4–6 set loss to win 4–6, 6–0, 6–4, sealing the win.

“The team had a tough match in a tough environment at Princeton on Saturday, but I am extremely proud of how we responded on Sunday to beat an undefeated Penn team,” Kyle Dawson ’14 said. “We competed well, and the win gives us great momentum heading into a tough weekend home against Cornell and Columbia.”

Both Yale tennis squads take on Cornell and Columbia next weekend. The men will host their opponents at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, while the women will embark on a two game road trip.

I'm a Belgian-American originally hailing from a rural town in Virginia. My first foray into reporting was founding a news paper at my high school called "The Conversation."