The Yale women’s tennis team made the most of its home court advantage this weekend at the Bulldog Invitational, posting an impressive 24–11 record over the three-day tournament.
The Bulldogs hosted Brown, Dartmouth, Pittsburgh, William & Mary and Rutgers at their first home event of the season, and much of their success was due to an impressive performance in doubles play.
“I’m really pleased with our team’s effort this weekend,” head coach Taka Bertrand said. “There’s a lot of room for improvement, but this weekend gave us an opportunity to test what we’ve been working on against high quality competition.”
The Elis excelled in doubles play this weekend, with a combined record of 11–1. The team emerged undefeated in doubles play against both Pittsburgh and Rutgers. Captain Hanna Yu ’15 and doubles partner Ree Ree Li ’16 set the tone in their first match of the weekend with a comfortable 8–3 win over the Pitt pair of Audrey Ann Blakely and Lolande Ogungbesan.
The only doubles loss all weekend came when Yu and Li lost 8–5 to a pair from William & Mary on Saturday.
“We are still trying to figure out the players who mesh well together,” Yu said. “We have been mixing it up and this weekend we definitely had a couple of good pairings.”
The success in doubles continued throughout the invitational, with Valerie Shklover ’18 and Madeleine Hamilton ’16 playing an extremely competitive match against their Pitt opponents.
In a back-and-forth event, they finally overcame the Panthers in a tiebreaker, winning 8–7(6). The tandem of Shklover and Hamilton faced a similar situation against William & Mary on Saturday, and the duo fought and won its second tiebreaker of the weekend, finishing the match 8–7(4).
Yu noted that members of the freshman class had strong performances in doubles at the tournament. Caroline Lynch ’17 and Sunday Swett ’18 defeated a pair from Brown while another impressive win came from the pair of Courtney Amos ’16 and Elizabeth Zordani ’18, who overcame a Rutgers duo 8–2.
“We had to deal with a lot of different variables this weekend,” Zordani said. “But the team had great energy, we were able to support each other, and I think that’s why doubles play was so successful.”
The Bulldogs carried the momentum from doubles into singles play. On the opening day of the tournament, the team went 5–3 against Pitt in singles. After a strong performance in doubles, Yu and Hamilton won straight-set victories over their Pitt opponents. Finke defeated her competitor with an easy 6–2, 6–0 victory, while Amos swept over her challenger 6–0, 6–3. Meanwhile, Swett, in her collegiate debut, won a tense three-set match against Pitt’s Amanda Wickam. She came from behind to post a 2–6, 7–6(11), 6–4 victory.
The Elis, however, were less successful on Saturday in singles competition. Although Yale participated in eight singles matches on the second day of the tournament, only Yu, Finke and Shklover were able to pull out wins.
“We still have a lot to work on,” Yu said. “We got a chance to see what we need to do in order to be successful in our upcoming tournaments.”
Despite the losses on Saturday, the Bulldogs finished strong against Rutgers on the last day of competition. They won all but two singles matches against the Scarlet Knights.
Amos and Li both fought through three-set matches, but were unable to secure wins for the Elis. Swett finished her highly successful debut weekend with a 7–5, 6–1 victory over her Rutgers competitor.
“Overall, it was a good weekend,” Bertrand said. “Now we have some momentum heading into the Regional tournament this coming weekend.”
The Bulldogs will host the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Tournament beginning this Thursday, Oct. 16.