Yale men’s tennis team fell to Penn and Princeton at home to finish 0–7 in Ivy competition, during head coach Alex Dorato’s final games after 27 seasons at the helm.
The Bulldogs (11–13, 0–7) took on their final two opponents of the spring Ivy season this weekend but came up short with two 4–1 losses to compound the Elis’ winless conference campaign. Against the Quakers (18–10, 2–5) on Saturday, the Bulldogs started off strong — winning the doubles point before losing four singles matches in a row. On Sunday, the Tigers (20–9, 4–3) proved to be another tough opponent, taking the match 4–1, with Dylan King ’20 recording the only Eli-win.
“It’s been a pretty rough season with some rather disappointing results,” Ryan Cheng ’20 said. “The match against Penn was definitely not one we were expecting to lose. We knew Princeton would be a tough match as we lost to them 4–3 earlier this season. We were ready to go for Sunday but came up a bit short. Though the score was 4–1, I believe that if we played the matches out, we would’ve gotten a couple more points on the board.”
In the first match of the weekend, the Elis faced off with the Quakers and fought to a successful start in the doubles competition. The No. 1 partnership of Cody Lin ’21 and Cheng defeated their opponents 6–4, while No. 2 Nathan Brown ’19 and King trampled their competition 6–3 to secure the doubles point for the Bulldogs.
Heading into singles with a 1–0 lead, the Elis struggled to secure the win. Falling in four matches in a row, the Bulldogs had to settle for a 4–1 loss. No. 1 King and No. 2 Lin both fell in very close matches, 6–4, 7–6 and 6–4, 7–6(3), respectively. At No. 4, Arnav Dhingra ’22 narrowly lost in a three-set battle 4–6, 7–6(4), 6–0. Meanwhile, No. 6 Alan Sou ’21 dropped his match 7–5, 6–4.
The loss marked the Elis’ sixth consecutive loss and the Quakers’ first win in six games.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs looked to regroup but could not muster a win, leaving the matchup with one victory from King at No. 1. Yale began with an early 1–0 deficit after losing the doubles point with the No. 2 and No. 3 pairings falling 6–4 and 6–2.
In the singles competition, the Elis struggled to get on the scoreboard. At No. 2, Lin fell 7–6(5), 6–1. However, at No. 1, King proved victorious against the Tigers, boasting a 6–3, 7–5 win. Momentum then quickly turned back in favor of the Tigers as they swept the next two matches — No. 3 Cheng and No. 4 Dhingra each lost 7–6(5), 6–4 and 1–6, 6–3, 6–4, respectively — to consign the Bulldogs to their seventh conference defeat.
The match marked the end of Dorato’s long and decorated career. Dorato has served as the Cary Leeds Head Coach for men’s tennis since 1993 and announced his intention to retire after the 2018–2019 season last year. Despite the results of his final season, Dorato finished as the tennis coach with the most wins in Yale history, ending his 27th season with a 344–286 record. Still, he believes the program will excel even without him next year.
“The future of Yale tennis looks very bright,” Dorato said. “Next year, all six starting singles players return as well as five of the six doubles starters. Losing Nate Brown ’19 from doubles is a big loss as he had a sensational year, but Michael Sun ’22 will be back after missing the entire Ivy League season this year. Additionally, the three incoming first years are rated in the ‘top 25 recruiting class’ in the country by tennisrecruiting.net.”
The Elis also finished 0–7 in Ancient Eight competition in the 2017–18 season.
Cate Sawkins |firstname.lastname@example.org