Courtesy of Steve Musco
As the temperatures outside warmed up on Saturday afternoon, so did the Yale men’s tennis team, who scorched Buffalo. But on a rainy Sunday, Brown washed the Elis away on their home courts.
The Bulldogs (11–7, 0–1 Ivy) started out the two-match weekend with a dominant 5–2 win against the Bulls (7–8, 2–1 MAC) that primed them for Ivy play. But the Elis failed to carry that momentum into their Ancient Eight opener against Brown (8–7, 1–0) on Sunday, losing 4–2 to the Bears. Brown broke the Elis’ 11-game streak of winning the doubles point, which dates back to Feb. 23.
“We competed very well against Buffalo in winning all three, three-set matches,” head coach Alex Dorato said. “Winning all three, three-set matches against Buffalo gave us confidence that we could upset Brown on Sunday. We fell a little short, but we did better than anyone would have expected given that we didn’t have [Michael Sun ’22] in the line-up [due to an injury].”
To open the competition against Buffalo on Saturday, the Elis continued their dominance in the doubles competition, winning at both the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. No. 1 Ryan Cheng ’20 and Cody Lin ’21 shut down their opponents 6–2, while No. 2 Nathan Brown ’19 and Dylan King ’20 defeated the Bulls 6–4 to secure the doubles point for the Elis.
With a 1–0 lead heading into singles, the Bulldogs picked up four more victories in the singles competition to close out the duel. No. 2 Cheng defeated the Buffalo challenger 6–2, 7–6(4), while the Elis also picked up grueling three-set wins at the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 slots. No. 4 Arnav Dhingra ’22 battled to win 6–2, 4–6, 6–4, No. 5 Andrew Heller ’20 fought to a 6–4, 3–6, 6–5(4) final score and No. 6 Alan Sou ’21 prevailed 6–3, 5–7, 6–4.
“Alan and Arnav played some clutch tennis in their third sets to clinch the match for us,” King said.
The next day, the Elis turned around to face off with the Bears in Yale’s first match against a league opponent this spring season.
To open the competition, the Bears snapped the Bulldogs’ 11-game, five-week doubles point streak. At the No. 1 position, Tan and Chou from Brown defeated Cheng and Lin 6–3, while Yale’s No. 3 Heller and Dhingra fell to the Bears 6-4.
“The importance of the doubles point against Brown can’t be overstated,” Dorato said. “Had we won, we would have needed to win just one of the last two singles matches — both were in the third set — instead of needing to win both. It was only the third doubles point that we’ve lost in 18 matches, but yesterday we made just a few too many errors.”
In the singles competition, after winning their matches 6–1, 6–3 over Cheng, and 6–3, 7–5 over Dhingra, respectively, No. 2 Lam and No. 4 Chou put the Bears up by three over the Elis.
The Bulldogs fought back, narrowing the lead to one with wins at the No. 1 spot from King 7–6(12), 6–3, and at the No. 6 spot 4–6, 7–5, 6–3 from Sou.
But ultimately, the Bears prevailed, winning the No. 5 match against Heller in a three-set battle, 2–6, 6–2, 7–6(5). With four points, Brown ascended to a 4–2 victory.
“The loss against Brown was definitely disappointing,” Cheng said. “But there were several small victories that I thought we could carry forward. Alan had another tough win at six, Nathan continued his winning streak, Dylan King ’20 pulled out a win at No.1 singles and Cody Lin ’21 had a stellar performance at No.3 singles.”
The Elis head to New York next weekend to continue Ivy play, challenging Columbia on Saturday and Cornell on Sunday, both at 1 p.m.
Cate Sawkins | email@example.com