Steve Musco

Staring down a winless record in Ivy League play, the Yale men’s tennis team suffered two more losses against 2018 NCAA qualifiers No. 37 Harvard and No. 39 Dartmouth this weekend as the Bulldogs moved to 0–5 against the Ancient Eight this spring.

The Elis (11–11, 0–5 Ivy) traveled to Cambridge on Friday to take on rival Harvard (17–5, 4–0). However, the Elis fell 6–1 in enemy territory after an early loss in the doubles point and three consecutive losses in singles secured the match for the Crimson. On Sunday, the Elis rallied to take on the Big Green (14–6, 3–1) in New Haven but fell to their opponent 4–1 after dropping several tightly-contested matches.

“Our doubles was very strong this weekend, but in singles we lost a number of close matches.,” Dylan King ’20. “This weekend was better than last because we played with more confidence as a team. With only two matches left, our goal is to play loose and confident, and try to score an upset over a nationally-ranked opponent.”

On Friday, the Elis started the match against the Crimson in the doubles point, where the home squad claimed the first victory at the No. 3 spot. But the Bulldogs struck back with the No. 1 partnership of Cody Lin ’21 and Ryan Cheng ’20 securing a win 6–4. However, at the No. 2 spot, the Elis fell 7–5 to hand over the doubles point to the Crimson.

Entering the singles competition trailing 1–0, the Elis fought back to tally points of their own but ultimately lost the first three matches as the Crimson secured the victory. No. 4 Arnav Dhingra ’22 fell 6–3, 6–2, while No. 2 Cheng also lost by similar margins: 6–2, 6–3. No. 1 King succumbed in a tight singles match to Robertas Wrzesinksi 6–4, 7–5 to seal the win for Harvard.

However, the other three matches continued to completion, with No. 3 Lin and No. 5 Andrew Heller ’20 losing to their opponents in three-set duels 7–6, 1–6, 1–0 (7) and 5–7, 6–4, 1–0(8), respectively. Alan Sou ’21 claimed the lone victory of the day at No. 6 against Galen Lee, proving victorious in another three-set battle, 2–6, 6–3, 6–3.

The loss marked the fourth consecutive hiccup for the Elis and extended the Crimson’s winning streak to six.

Against Dartmouth, the defending Ivy League champion, the Bulldogs were able to reclaim the doubles point that had eluded them two days earlier. After losing at the No. 1 spot, the Elis fought back to win the doubles point. The Bulldogs proved victorious at No. 2 and No. 3, with the pairings of King and Nathan Brown ’19, and Dhingra and Heller winning 6–3 and 7–5, respectively.

“Dartmouth was definitely a winnable match,” Cheng said. “A lot of the matches came down to some big points that simply didn’t go our way. Obviously not the result we wanted and we were disappointed to walk away without a win especially after winning the doubles point.”

In the singles competition, the Elis suffered four consecutive losses to turn the match and secure the win for the Big Green. At No. 2, Cheng fell 6–1, 6–0, while No. 3 Lin and No. 5 Heller both fell in close matches. At No. 6, Sou was caught in a close battle for the win, but ultimately succumbed 7–5, 7–6.

The match marked the Elis’ sixth consecutive year falling to the Big Green in conference competition and kept the Bulldogs winless so far in the Ivy spring season.

“Our goals moving forward are to grab a win or two this coming weekend to end our season on a good note,” Heller said. “We’ve had some close matches against tough teams but have fallen short in every one so far.”

Yale is set to take on Penn and Princeton in its season finale at home next weekend at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Cate Sawkins | cate.sawkins@yale.edu