Senior Duo to Play for Doubles Title; Huang Nearly Upends No. 1 Seed Pecotic
NEW HAVEN, C.T. – Three seniors on the Yale men's tennis team took to the courts of the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center Monday for quarterfinal and semifinal action at the United States Tennis Association (USTA)/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Northeast Regional tournament. With many seeds still alive, the day produced some extremely high-quality tennis. Notable results for Yale included its top doubles team posting an upset over the No. 1 seeded pair, and senior John Huang falling valiantly in a hard-fought semifinal contest against the No. 1 singles seed.
Last season, the Bulldogs gained a reputation as a formidable threat in doubles play. Senior captain Daniel Hoffman and classmate Marc Powers, ranked No. 54 nationally and seeded No. 3 as a team, showed Monday that they do not intend to relinquish this reputation anytime soon. In their semifinal match, Hoffman and Powers handed Princeton's No. 1 seeded team of Zack McCourt and Matija Pecotic its first loss of the season in an 8-4 victory. With the win, Hoffman and Powers boost their current winning streak to seven matches. The seniors will play Columbia's No. 2 seeded team of Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur in the doubles final on Tuesday.
In the singles quarterfinal round, Huang, the No. 3 seed, powered his way to a 6-3, 6-1 win over the No. 13 seed, Will Spector of Brown. Powers, the No. 7 seed, who was on a six-match winning streak, was defeated by No. 2 seeded Winston Lin of Columbia in a competitive match, 6-2, 7-5. Lin would go on to defeat the No. 38 player in the country, Vasko Mladenov of St. John's, in a grinding three-set semifinal. The other semifinal pitted Huang against Pecotic, the No. 1 seed and the 2012 Ivy League Player of the Year. In what turned out to be one of the best matches of the event, Huang came out firing on all cylinders, putting Pecotic on the defensive. Though Pecotic managed to weather the storm, Huang broke Pecotic when the latter served for the first set, and after a tense tiebreaker, Huang grabbed the set with some aggressive play and exceptional shot-making. Pecotic quickly recovered, and built on an early lead in the second set to force a decider. A resilient Huang would not go away quietly, however, and stood toe-to-toe with Pecotic until midway through the third set, when Pecotic came out on top in a few crucial points to take the last four games and seal the victory, 6-7, 6-1, 6-3. The loss ended Huang's seven-match winning streak.
Tuesday will be the final day of the USTA/ITA Northeast Regional Championships at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, and will feature the singles and doubles finals at 9 a.m. Hoffman and Powers will be looking to capture their first title at this event, having lost in the final last year.
Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity
Singles – Quarterfinals
(2) Winston Lin (Columbia) def. (7) Marc Powers (Yale), 6-2, 7-5
(3) John Huang (Yale) def. (13) Will Spector (Brown), 6-3, 6-1
Singles – Semifinals
(1) Matija Pecotic (Princeton) def. (3) Huang (Yale), 6-7, 6-1, 6-3
Doubles – Semifinals
(3) Daniel Hoffman/Powers (Yale) def. (1) Zack McCourt/Pecotic (Princeton), 8-4
Singles and doubles draws updated through Monday can be found here.