September 12, 2013

2013-14 Season Kicks Off at Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational

Yale One of Five Ivy League Schools Entered in the Tournament

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A fresh season of tennis is right around the corner for the Yale men's tennis team, as the squad is set to hit the courts at the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational on Friday at Princeton's Lenz Tennis Center.  The weekend tournament will consist of six singles flights and two doubles flights.  Players from 14 different schools in this region of the country, including five Ancient Eight schools, will be competing.

The Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational has traditionally been a successful kickoff event for the Bulldogs.  Last year was no exception, with the Elis producing one singles champion and one victorious doubles team as well as several other high finishes.  The competition allows players to remove the rust of the offseason and hone their skills and also provides some foreshadowing of important matchups that come along later in the season, when the stakes are even higher.  Indeed, Yale's players will be looking to bring out their best when facing off against players from fellow Ivy League schools.  Columbia, Cornell, Penn and Princeton are all taking part in this event.  The other nine schools competing are Binghamton, Bucknell, Buffalo, Fairleigh Dickinson, Georgetown, Monmouth, NYIT, St. John's and Temple. 

Senior captain Kyle Dawson, following in the tradition of his two brothers, who were also Bulldog captains, leads a Yale team that consists of eight returning players and four newcomers.  Dawson returns to the Lenz Tennis Center with fond memories, as he partnered with Zachary Dean '13 to win the 'C' doubles draw at last year's Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational.  This string of wins propelled him to finish the fall with a 6-1 record in doubles.  Dawson also made the semifinals of his singles flight at the Lenz Tennis Center last year, and finished the fall stretch with a 6-3 win-loss mark in singles.  Fellow senior Patrick Chase led a successful doubles campaign last fall as well, compiling a 12-5 record while reaching the final of the 'A' doubles draw at the Princeton-Farnsworth, alongside John Huang '13 (defeating the No. 36 team in the nation en route), and reaching the doubles final of the Connecticut State Championships.  Chase also put together a solid spring season alongside Huang, finishing with an 8-6 record.  Rounding out the senior class is Tommy Ratchford, who will look to replicate the form that saw him go 5-4 in singles last fall while going undefeated at the Yale Shootout.  A versatile player, Ratchford also had some success in doubles, reaching the quarterfinals of last year's Connecticut State Championships alongside Dean.     

Daniel Faierman went undefeated in his four singles matches in the spring, and will look to extend that streak this fall, in a part of the season where he has often found much success.  Last year, Faierman posted a 13-5 singles record in the fall.  His achievements included winning his singles draw at the 2012 United States Tennis Association (USTA)/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Collegiate Invitational and reaching the semifinals of the Connecticut State Championships.  Faierman also made it to the semifinals of doubles at the Connecticut State Championships, alongside classmate Zachary Krumholz.  Krumholz, for his part, strung together seven wins to just two losses in singles last fall, and made the semifinals of his flight at the USTA/ITA Collegiate Invitational.  He strung together a similar 7-4 singles record in the spring.  The third junior, Matt Saiontz, went undefeated in both singles and doubles last fall at the Yale Shootout, a feat that helped him earn a 5-1 singles record and a 3-1 doubles record.  Saiontz then stepped up last spring as one of the team's main doubles players, competing in 16 matches and finishing with a winning record (9-7).    

For sophomore Jason Brown, last year's Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational was a breakout tournament.  He not only won his draw, but stormed through the quarterfinals and semifinals at the loss of only eight games between the two matches.  These wins turned out to be just the beginning of an incredible 12-match winning streak for Brown, a run that also saw him claim victory at the Connecticut State Championships and in the 'D' draw of the USTA/ITA Collegiate Invitational.  He finished the fall portion of the season with a team-best 17-1 record.  Brown also enjoyed success in doubles, reaching one final and one semifinal in the fall.  If Brown's form is anything like it was at this time last year, he will most certainly be a force in collegiate tennis.  Fellow sophomore Martin Svenning, meanwhile, will look to play the aggressive baseline game that saw him compile a 14-5 win-loss mark in singles and go 5-2 in Ivy League play in the spring.  His efforts earned him a nomination for Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors.

Finally, while the four freshmen on the roster—Alex Hagermoser, Tyler Lu, Photos Photiades and James Ratchford—may be new to the team, they most certainly are not novices to the game.  Hagermoser was ranked in the top 200 in the nation by the USTA in Boys 16 singles and led his high school team to the Illinois State Championship title in 2012.  He is also an Illinois State Doubles Champion.  Lu was ranked as high as No. 3 in the SoCal region and No. 24 in the nation by the USTA.  Rated a Blue Chip recruit by tennisrecruiting.net, Lu has claimed singles titles at the San Diego National Open and the Las Vegas Regional.  A native Cypriot, Photiades comes to Yale with much international experience, as he has been ranked as high as No. 339 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings.  He is the current No. 4 player in Cyprus in both singles and doubles and he is a former under-18 No. 1 in Cyprus in both singles and doubles.  Ratchford also comes from a successful tennis background, as he is the younger brother of senior Tommy Ratchford. 

Alex Dorato, Cary Leeds Head Coach of Men's Tennis, enters his 22nd season at the helm of Yale's squad.   Dorato is the all-time leader in coaching wins for Yale men's tennis.  He is assisted by Christian Appleman.

The Bulldogs enter the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational on the heels of an intriguing and successful season that saw the Elis begin unranked and, thanks to an impressive 18-6 record (4-3 Ivy), finish the season ranked No. 57, their second-best final national ranking in 33 years.  Yale also captured the No. 4 spot in both the Ivy League standings and the season-end Northeast Region rankings.  Though the Ivy League title has proved elusive for Yale lately, this year's squad is set on reversing this trend.  The Ivy League stretch is a long way off, however, and for now, the Elis will focus their energies on finding their form in a string of events and tournaments this fall that includes the upcoming Princeton-Farnsworth, the Ivy Plus Invitational, the Army Shootout, the USTA/ITA Regional Championships, the Connecticut State Championships and the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.

Singles and doubles draws for the Princeton-Farnsworth Invitational can be found here.

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity