Yale Joins 21 Other Schools for Season Kickoff
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's tennis team is set to get its 2014-15 season off to a running start, as it prepares to join players from no less than 21 other schools at the Farnsworth Ivy Plus Invitational starting on Friday. Princeton will host the event, which will feature eight singles brackets of 16 players each and two doubles flights of 32 pairs each. In all, 128 of the nation's best college players will be showcasing their talent on the courts of the Tigers' Lenz Tennis Center.
Yale hosted the inaugural edition of the Ivy Plus last year, which proved to be a prime opportunity for Division I players to see how their tennis matched up against top-notch competition. This year promises much of the same, as players from all around the country will converge on Princeton eager to put their abilities to the test. All eight Ancient Eight schools are sending players to compete, as are Army, Binghamton, Buffalo, Iowa, Marist, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Monmouth, Notre Dame, NJIT, Pepperdine, St. John's, Tulane and Virginia Tech. Last season's Ivy Plus tournament was a breakout tournament for sophomore Tyler Lu, who claimed victory in the 'B' singles flight in just his second collegiate tournament.
Match play at the Farnsworth Ivy Plus will include no-ad scoring for both singles and doubles. Singles matches will best-of-three sets and doubles matches will consist of an eight-game pro-set.
Alex Dorato, Cary Leeds Head Coach of Men's Tennis, now in his 23rd year at the helm of the Bulldog squad, will look to guide his players to success in the fall season, and ultimately, to the 2015 Ivy League title in the spring. Among coaches of the Yale men's tennis team, he is the all-time leader in wins. Christian Appleman will assist Dorato in his efforts, and both coaches will be able to look to a strong senior class for leadership.
Senior captain Zachary Krumholz has consistently been one of the Bulldogs' top singles players since his freshman year, as evidenced by his 50-28 career record. Last fall, he reached the singles final of the Connecticut State Championships, as well as the doubles semifinal. Krumholz has a penchant for winning matches against players from highly-ranked schools, and is very difficult to beat when on form. His classmate, Daniel Faierman, is likewise a tough customer for any opponent. The highlight of Faierman's 2013 fall campaign was qualifying for the main draw of the Northeast Regional tournament and then winning two main draw matches. Last spring, he notched 14 wins in singles and cemented himself as a dependable doubles player for the Elis, going on an 11-match winning streak at one point with sophomore Alex Hagermoser. Rounding out the class of 2015 is Matt Saiontz, who will be raring to get back in the thick of the competition after having missed all of last season due to injury.
The two members of the junior class, Jason Brown and Martin Svenning, anchor the Yale squad in several respects. A solid baseliner, Brown has proven himself to be a versatile player. In his sophomore season, he reached the quarterfinals of the Connecticut State Championships in both singles and doubles. Svenning, an aggressive baseliner, played primarily at the No. 2 singles spot and the No. 1 doubles spot last season, racking up several wins in both disciplines. He will look to maintain a high level of play throughout the season, as his performance will be key to the Elis' success.
The talented sophomore class consists of Hagermoser, Lu, Photos Photiades and James Ratchford. Lu begins the season ranked No. 84 in the country and has earned a spot in the qualifying draw of the upcoming ITA All-American Championships. He will have fond memories of his freshman fall campaign, since it was just one year ago that he won titles at the Ivy Plus and the Connecticut State Championships. He will also aim to build on a sterling regular season that saw him earn first team All-Ivy honors for singles and the Rookie of the Year award for the Northeast region. Hagermoser likewise posted impressive numbers in his rookie fall season, reaching three main draw semifinals and winning one main draw match at the Northeast Regionals. His spring campaign saw him rise to the fore of the Yale doubles effort, as he went 10-7 alongside Faierman at the No. 3 position. Photiades also showcased his abilities in both singles and doubles during his freshman season, as he won the doubles title at the Connecticut State Championships alongside Lu and recorded a six-match winning streak at the start of the spring stretch. He also distinguished himself by earning a spot on the 2014 Cyprus Davis Cup Team. Photiades will look to draw on his collegiate and international experiences to gain an edge over his competitors this season. Ratchford, who picked up wins in both singles and doubles last year, will likewise be aiming to build on the experiences of his freshman season.
The three members of the class of 2018 bring a bevy of accomplishments to the Eli squad. Fedor Andrienko comes to Yale as one of Russia's top-ranked junior players, having ranked in the top 95 of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) standings and won several Russian National Championships. Stefan Doehler was a standout high school player who went undefeated from sophomore to senior year and led his team to a league championship in his final year. He has also had success at national tournaments and played several junior doubles tournaments alongside Lu. Finally, Ziqi Wang arrives on the collegiate scene as one of the nation's top-ranked players, having won National Open tournaments in both singles and doubles. In addition to being the No. 1 ranked player out of Alabama according to tennisrecruiting.net, Wang secured three state championships in both singles and doubles during his high school career.
The Bulldogs' 2013-14 season featured impressive individual performances at the fall events and a solid team performance in the spring, in which the squad went 12-10, including an 8-5 win-loss mark on home turf. Yale will undoubtedly reach for greater heights, however, as it seeks an Ivy League title. Before the Elis can compete for that chance, however, they have a full fall stretch before them, which includes this weekend's Farnsworth Ivy Plus, the Penn Classic, the Yale Shootout, the Northeast Regionals, the Connecticut State Championships and the National Indoors. Lu will be playing in the ITA All-American Championships in one week's time.
Friday's action at the Farnsworth Ivy Plus begins at 8:30 a.m. All draws can be found here.
Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity