The Yale men’s tennis team dropped a 4–3 decision to St. John’s University in an away match at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sunday, March 29.
The competition was close throughout the entire match. According to Yale head coach Alex Dorato, the Bulldogs came into the match expecting the showdown to be tight. The Red Storm entered Sunday scorching hot, having just won four straight matches, and the victory over the Bulldogs extended the streak to five.
Yale began the day on a high note, capturing the doubles point with two victories by the No. 2 and No. 3 pairs Fedor Andrienko ’18/Stefan Doehler ’18 and Alex Hagermoser ’17/Martin Svenning ’16. Both of the pairs won their respective matches by scores of 6–3.
“We have recently been struggling with winning the doubles point against strong schools, but yesterday we came out with a lot of energy and managed to take the early lead coming into singles” Doehler said.
Despite the Elis’ prowess on the doubles court, the momentum swung to the opposing side during singles competition as St. John’s stormed back to erase the deficit. The overall match score was tied after Yale’s Tyler Lu ’17 was defeated 6–2, 6–4 by Lucas Hejhal of St. John’s in No. 1 singles play.
The contest was eventually decided by a three-set matchup between No. 2 singles players Doehler and St. John’s Robert Livi. Dorato praised his tenacious freshman for fighting hard and forcing the game into three sets, but Livi emerged victorious by a score of 6–2, 4–6, 6–4. Doehler was playing in the No. 2 position due to Svenning’s absence, who was sidelined during singles play because of a foot injury. While positioning in the lineup varies between matches, Svenning was set to play the No. 2 position prior to the injury.
“Even though we lost against St. John’s, we were missing singles action from Martin Svenning, one of our best players, and yet we still competed a great match,” Doehler said.
The two singles wins for the Elis came from the No. 5 and No. 6 slots. Andrienko defeated Federico Ruiz 6–4, 6–4, while Photos Photiades ’17 managed to win against MJ Every in three sets with scores of 6–2, 2–6, 6–3. It was Photiades’ win that set the tide for the showdown between Doehler and Livi.
Dorato and Photiades said they believe that the close match on Sunday with St. John’s will help prepare the Bulldogs for the type of competition that they will face during Ivy League play, which kicks off Saturday, April 4 against the Penn Quakers.
“Overall, we played very well,” Dorato said, “It was disappointing to lose, but in terms of getting us ready for the Ivy League, I thought that it was a perfect match for us.”
The match between Yale and Penn will be hosted at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center at 1 p.m. this weekend.