Coming off two defeats at the hands of Ivy opponents last weekend, the Yale men’s tennis team continued its winless streak in Ancient Eight play, losing this weekend against conference rivals Princeton and Penn.
The Elis (10–10, 0–4 Ivy) were swept by a Princeton team (17–10, 2–3) that has dominated at home this season, with a 9–1 record at the Lenz Tennis Center. Yale lost the doubles point before suffering three straight singles losses. Against Penn (15–10, 4–1), the Bulldogs opened strong to win the doubles point before coming up short in the singles portion for a 5–2 loss. The Quakers’ victory added to their three-game win streak. Both matches for the Elis featured new doubles pairings.
“The new doubles formations were well needed,” captain Stefan Dohler ’18 said. “It definitely paid off, as we narrowly lost the doubles point to Princeton before finally claiming it against Penn. It’s a strategy we’ll definitely continue to implement moving into next weekend.”
On Saturday, the three doubles contests kick started the match, with the Tigers claiming the point in a competitive best-out-of-three series. To start it off, Princeton won 6–3 at No. 1, but Yale’s No. 3 pairing of Ryan Cheng ’20 and Ziqi Wang ’18 fought off its opponents to post a 6–3 Bulldog victory. In the deciding match, No. 2 Doehler and Andrew Heller ’20 came up just short, losing 6–4 and conceding the doubles point to the Tigers. Head coach Alex Dorato switched up the Yale pairs ahead of the match, with Dylan King ’20 promoted to No. 1 and Heller dropping to No. 2.
Moving into singles, the Tigers continued to dominate, with the momentum in their favor. Princeton claimed victory at No. 6 against Cheng, by a 6–2, 6–0 tally, while Yale’s No. 4 Wang also came up short, 6–2, 6–3. Princeton clinched the win in a dramatic No. 1 win over Yale’s King, 7–6(4), 6–3.
In a small bright spot on an otherwise disappointing afternoon for Yale, the Bulldogs led all the remaining matches that were halted when Princeton clinched the victory. Both No. 5 Fedor Andrienko ’18 and No. 3 Heller were winning, 1–6, 6–3, 2–1, and 6–2, 3–6, 4–2, respectively. Both players had taken leads after losing the first set.
On Sunday, the Elis refocused to take on Penn. While their matches were closer, the outcome was the same: a decisive 5–2 loss.
In the doubles competition, Dorato used the new combinations deployed against Princeton, resulting in a doubles-point victory. No. 3 Cheng and Wang won their match 6–3 and No. 2 Doehler and Heller won their match 6–4. When the No. 1 match featuring Andrienko and King was halted, the score was tied aT five games a piece.
However, the tide changed moving into singles. An opening loss by No. 6 Alan Sou ’21 6–2, 6–4 marked the first of five singles losses for the Elis. No. 1 King fell 6–2, 6–4 to Penn captain Kyle Mautner, a two-time first-team All-Ivy recipient. No. 2 Doehler fell 6–3, 6–2, followed by No. 3 Heller with a 6–4, 6–3 loss, to mark the coveted four-point tally for Penn to secure the match.
In the remaining games, No. 5 Andrienko fell 6–2, 6–4, but No. 4 Wang was able to edge out his opponent 7–6, 6–3.
“We know we have to go into every match without thinking about any matches we’ve already played,” Heller said. “We’re just going to do what we need to do to prepare and go into the next few with that same mindset.”
Next weekend, the Elis host Cornell on Saturday at 1 p.m. and No. 15 Columbia on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Cate Sawkins | firstname.lastname@example.org