In its first home weekend of the spring season, the Yale women’s tennis team split a pair of matches, falling 6–1 to No. 65 Syracuse on Friday before beating Boston University 4–3 the following day for its first dual match victory of the season.
Tina Jiang ’17, who played in the No. 2 singles spot, picked up the Elis’ lone point against Syracuse, a team that entered the weekend undefeated. Though opponent Valeria Salazar took her to three sets, Jiang gritted out a 7–5, 3–6, 6–3 win.
“It was a huge win because she won the first set and lost the second, but came back in the third and finished,” captain Ree Ree Li ’16 said of Jiang’s match. “That was an incredible match for us to watch and to see her fight and toughness.”
Fellow Bulldog Madeleine Hamilton ’16 fell in straight sets to Anna Shkudun, the No. 43 Division I player in the nation, in the No. 1 singles match. The women playing the No. 3 through 7 slots also fell to their Orange counterparts, though two — Amy Yang ’19 and Caroline Lynch ’17 — forced their opponents to win seven games to take a set.
In the final singles match on Friday, Sonal Shrivastava ’19 defeated Syracuse’s Olivia Messineo in the No. 8 slot. Although the freshman’s 6–2, 6–3 win did not factor into the match’s final tally, it nevertheless represented a continuation of a her strong rookie campaign that began with Shrivastava advancing to the quarterfinals of her first collegiate tournament, the Cissie Leary Invitational back in October.
“Although the score against Syracuse was 6–1, it was a very close match,” Lynch said. “Everyone is playing better and better each match and we’re incorporating what we’re working on in practice. Our team is very talented and we translated that into a win on Saturday against BU.”
On the doubles side, the pairs of Hamilton and Jiang as well as Li and Valerie Shklover ’18 fell 6–1 and 6–3, respectively. Though, like Shrivastava’s victory, the No. 3 doubles match did not count for the purpose of Intercollegiate Tennis Association results, Sherry Li ’17 and Caroline Lynch ’17 still defeated their opponents by a score of 6–4.
Against Boston University the following day, Courtney Amos ’16 put the Terriers away with a match-clinching fourth point in the No. 4 singles position. After dropping the first set 2–6, Amos battled back to win the second set 7–5 and dominated the third, taking it 6–1.
“I just tried to think about what I could control in my own game; such as having longer points, and keeping the ball deep in the court,” Amos told the News. “I think the length of the second set definitely impacted the third set to my advantage, I got a lot of momentum from the second-set win and it gave [me the] push I needed to make it through the third.”
In addition to victories by Amos and Sherry Li in singles, Yale swept the doubles matches and earned the accompanying point. The pair of Hamilton and Jiang won 6–2, and Ree Ree Li and Shklover picked up a 6–4 victory. Again playing at the No. 3 doubles spot, Sherry Li and Lynch also defeated their Boston University foes after taking the tie-breaking set, 7–6 (2).
The singles matches saw more tightly contested finishes. Hamilton and Ree Ree Li, playing at No. 1 and 2, fell 6–4, 6–3 and 7–5, 6–1, respectively. Sherry Li defeated Boston University’s Iryna Kostirko 6–4, 6–4 to pick up a singles point at the No. 3 position. Shklover cruised to a 6–2, 6–2 victory to give Yale its third point.
The score was level at 3–3 when Amos entered the third set of her match — the only singles match of the day to go to three sets. The senior dominated the final set en route to a 2–6, 7–5, 6–1 performance to clinch Yale’s first victory of the season.
“One of the biggest things we’re working on is taking advantage of the opportunities when we see them,” Ree Ree Li said. “We set ourselves up, but are not finishing. That’s the biggest thing. Those are the key points we want to translate from what we’ve been practicing.”
Amos added that the team has become mentally and physically stronger over the winter, and that she is looking forward to the upcoming conference season.
The Bulldogs are at home for another three weeks, which will include four nonconference tests.
Their next match is on Feb. 19, when the University of Massachusetts comes to play. Ivy League matches begin in April.