Playing in New Haven, Philadelphia and Providence, R.I., Yale’s tennis teams rose to the challenge up and down the coast this weekend, with the Bulldogs excelling in their most important tournaments of the fall season.
The men’s and women’s tennis teams finished the week strong at the ITA Northeast Regional Championships. Yale hosted the men’s regionals while the women’s team traveled to Philadelphia for their regionals, where the most notable story of the week was the stunning success of Sam Martinelli ’21. Additionally, four members of the women’s team competed at the Brown Quad tournament in Providence, impressing the crowd in singles.
With qualifying singles action for the men beginning Wednesday, both Nathan Brown ’19 and Alan Sou ’21 won two straight sets to join teammates Fedor Andrienko ’18, captain Stefan Doehler ’18, Andrew Heller ’20, Dylan King ’20 and Ziqi Wang ’18 in the main draw. Six Elis claimed victory in the main draw, and by the end of Friday, King, Heller and Wang had advanced to the third round.
“It was the biggest tournament of the fall and one of Yale’s best results in recent memory,” Wang said. “We had six players win in the main draw, while two of the eight players in the quarterfinals were from Yale. I made it to the quarterfinals, which is my best result in my four years. I really hope to build off this experience in the spring.”
On Saturday, Wang and Heller continued their excellent play and made it to the quarterfinals. The Elis’ stellar run ended Sunday after Wang fell 6–2, 6–2 to Columbia’s Victor Pham and Heller lost 6–4, 6–4 to Harvard’s Jean Thirouin.
Five members of the women’s tennis team kicked off the ITA Northeast Regionals hosted by Penn in Philadelphia on Thursday, with Valerie Shklover ’18, Amy Yang ’19 and Elizabeth Zordani ’18 all winning their singles matches and advancing to the second round of the main draw.
Overall, doubles matches were less successful, but, in their first time competing together in doubles, Samantha Martinelli ’21 and Zordani pulled out an 8–6 victory over Dartmouth’s Maddie Hwang and Allison McCann. The players continued their success on Friday, earning a combined 7–3 record in singles and winning their only doubles match. Shklover and Martinelli stood out after winning back-to-back singles matches and advanced to the quarterfinals, in which Shklover fell to No. 1 seed Gabriela Knutson of Syracuse.
“I as well as my teammates did very well, especially Martinelli,” Shklover said. “The highlight for me was having five players win five first rounds.”
Martinelli would become the major storyline for the Bulldogs, making it to the semifinals in her first year of college tennis. Like her teammate Shklover, Martinelli ultimately lost to Knutson of Syracuse on Saturday, ending her exceptional tournament.
The Denver, Colorado native was one of the top collegiate recruits in the nation coming into her rookie season with the Bulldogs. She is one third of a strong recruiting class that also includes Mimi Levine ’21 and Lauren Gillinov ’21.
“I’m especially proud of [Martinelli]’s performance,” Zordani said. “Our team has come a long way since last year’s showing, which makes me hopeful for the spring season.”
Meanwhile, four members of the women’s team traveled to Brown on Saturday to compete in the Brown Quad tournament. Since the ITA Northeast Regionals were taking place at the same time, Yale was unable to bring a full squad of players, but several Bulldogs stood out in their singles matches.
Trouncing Brown’s Juliana Simon by a superb score of 6–2, 6–2, Yang won one of Yale’s three victories in the singles, joined by teammates Caroline Amos ’19 and Opala Dinghra ’20.
“I’d played at regionals Thursday and Friday, and it was tough with the quick turnaround traveling from Penn to Brown,” Yang said. “It was definitely a confidence booster knowing that I could play at a high level even when physically and mentally tired.”
With one of the most notable performances of the tournament, Amos stunned Nandu Mandalap of Brown with a score of 6–1, 6–0. After beating her opponent in a tiebreaker in the first set, 8–6, Dinghra secured a victory after winning her second set, 6–4.
Although doubles got off to an uneven start after Dinghra and captain Sunday Swett ’18 were bested by a pair of Brown players, the Elis’ fortunes turned around when Amos joined forces with a member of Boston College’s squad, defeating their Brown opponents 6–3.
“The team performed incredibly well at Brown, which really goes to show how our hard work this fall is paying off,” Yang said. “We played three other teams — [Boston College], Dartmouth, and Brown — who we’ll see again in the spring season, so it was great to see that we competed so well against them.”
Yale will host the Connecticut Championships beginning on Nov. 3, the Bulldogs’ final fall event.
Alex Reedy | email@example.com