This past weekend proved to be one of the most eventful yet for Yale’s tennis squads, as they took on Ivy League rival Dartmouth and bitter nemesis Harvard in an exciting two-contest stretch of tennis action.
The women’s team traveled to Hanover, N.H. on Friday to take on the Big Green, winning 5–2, and then hosted Harvard on Sunday. The critical rivalry match at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center ended in a 5–2 victory for the Elis. The men’s squad was less fortunate: The Bulldogs dropped their home matchup against Dartmouth 4–0, then were swept 7–0 in Cambridge, Mass. by the Crimson.
The women’s team was sent reeling at the beginning of its contest against Dartmouth, dropping the doubles point in two straight losses to the Big Green. The Elis, however, came roaring back in singles, with Hanna Yu ’15 leading the charge at the No. 1 spot. Yu bounced back from a 4–6 first set loss to win her match 4–6, 6–4, 6–3, giving Yale momentum and earning Yu a third straight singles victory. Sherry Li ’17 posted a dominant performance at the four spot, winning 6–3, 6–4. Caroline Lynch ’17 also pulled out a clutch 4–6, 6–4, 7–6 win in a tough match. Lynch and Sherry Li are proving to be two rising stars for Yale from the class of 2017.
“Our lineup changed a little bit when [Annie Sullivan ’14] had an unfortunate ankle injury the day before we played Dartmouth, but it didn’t matter because everyone went out, played their best and took care of what they needed to,” Lynch said. “Our team has been playing really well recently, especially in high pressure situations with a lot on the line.”
Good fortune continued for the Elis against Harvard, as their 5–2 win vaunted them to a 5–1 Ivy League record. Yale pulled off the upset against a 47th-ranked Harvard squad by starting out its Sunday matchup strong, taking the doubles point on the back of a strong effort from Ree Ree Li ’16 and Madeleine Hamilton ’16, who won their matchup decisively, posting an 8–4 victory. The Elis’ continued to fight in singles play and were once again led by Hanna Yu, who won yet another three-set match at the No. 1 spot. Sullivan returned from injury with an impressive singles win, producing the most dominant performance of the afternoon with a 6–3, 6–1 triumph.
“I’m thrilled with how the team performed this weekend,” Sullivan said. “We played the best tennis we have played all year, and the wins were a result of entire team efforts.”
The men’s squad could not overcome its Ivy League competition this past weekend, sliding to seventh place in the Ancient Eight. The weekend began with a home loss to Dartmouth, as the Big Green swept the Elis 4–0, taking the double’s point with a comfortable 8–2 win. In singles play the Elis fell apart. Though three matches went unfinished, the Big Green trounced Yale, winning all three of the completed singles matches in straight sets.
Yale looked to bounce back from a disappointing home performance with a road contest against a favored No. 34 Harvard team. The Crimson took home the doubles point with 8–3 and 8–5 wins and then trounced the Bulldogs in singles, winning all six in straight sets. Highlights for the Bulldogs were slim given the tough competition, but Tyler Lu ’17 provided a strong showing in defeat at the No. 1 spot as he pushed his opponent, Dennis Nguyen, ranked 40th in the nation, to 13 games in the first set before succumbing 6–2 in the second. Lu’s match at the No. 1 spot proved to be the longest of the afternoon.
Both Yale teams will take on Brown in their final Ivy League matches. The women’s team will host the Bears in a contest that is guaranteed to have title implications, while the men’s team will travel to Providence, R.I. for its last contest on Saturday, April 26.