The Yale men’s tennis team showed signs of improvement from last year in its first competition of the season, an unscored matchup against a quartet of opponents.
The Bulldogs played four opponents at the University of Pennsylvania’s Hamlin Tennis Center: Georgetown, Middle Tennessee State, William & Mary and Denver University. Although the tournament was held in a hidden-duel format — meaning team scores were not tallied — the team emerged optimistic about the upcoming season but aware of the areas that need work.
“[We] went in focusing on competing really hard, fighting hard, finding out what we needed to work on,” head coach Alex Dorato said. “Hidden duels allow you to try different things and get a look at your players in match situations to see where they are at after the summer.”
On Friday, the Elis started the tournament with a match against Georgetown. In the debut match, the top two Bulldog doubles teams of Ryan Cheng ’20 and Dylan King ’20, and captain Nathan Brown ’19 and Alan Sou ’21 lost to their Hoya counterparts by slim margins. But in their first collegiate matches, Michael Sun ’22 and Arnav Dhingra ’22 eked out a victory at third doubles. In the singles portion of the match, Yale fought well again with Cheng, Dhingra, Sun and King winning all their matches.
In the afternoon, the Bulldogs produced another competitive performance against Middle Tennessee State. Cheng and King jumpstarted the matchup with a victory. Brown and Sou lost in a close 7–6 match, and Dhingra and Sun continued their winning ways with another victory.
The next day, Yale faced William & Mary. In doubles, the Bulldogs could not find a win against the Tribe, dropping all four doubles matchups, two in 7–6 heartbreakers. In singles, King won 6–4, 6–3, and Cheng, Sou and Sun split sets before each losing the third.
“There [were] a lot of positive moments, a lot to be proud about and build off for each player, it’s definitely a good way to kickstart our year,” Brown said. “This weekend definitely showcased a lot of the talent we have and it’s all about recognizing how much time we have to grow before [the Ivy League season.]”
On the last day of the tournament, Yale played another close match against Denver, with a few notable performances. Dennis Wang ’19 won 6–3, 7–6, and Sun cruised 6–0, 6–0.
For the Bulldogs, the main focus now is getting fit and healthy ahead of conference play.
“There’s good amount of talent out there on the court for us, but now it’s really about getting ready for the spring season,” Cheng said. “Last season we were pretty injured, but likely this season we’re going to be more healthy and that bodes well for us.”
The Bulldogs next play on Friday in the Ivy Plus tournament at home.
Ethan Finley | email@example.com