Bulldogs Cruise in Doubles; Lu Scores Huge Win over Harvard's Denis Nguyen in Singles as Yale Loses 5-2
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Knowing that rival Harvard (17-6, 3-1) would likely come into Friday's clash with some complacency after sweeping the two teams' first meeting this past February, the Bulldogs looked to catch the Crimson off guard with their drastic improvement in recent months. Despite the day ending in a 5-2 loss for the Elis, they succeeded in surprising their rival and nearly pulled off the massive upset; in a match that featured three three-set matches, Yale came up just a few games short of topping Ivy League title contender Harvard.
Coming into Friday's tilt with a 9-2 home record, the Bulldogs immediately fed off the energy of the home crowd and exploded out of the gate in doubles. Freshmen Fedor Andrienko and Stefan Doehler finished first with a stunning 6-2 win over Harvard's Denis Nguyen and Brian Yeung (ranked No. 17 in the country); this result marks yet another major upset for the freshman duo at the No. 1 doubles position, and they may be expecting a national ranking of their own soon. Yale's Alex Hagermoser and Tyler Lu then sealed the doubles point for the Elis with an impressive 6-2 performance at No. 3 doubles.
After submitting arguably their best doubles performance of the season, the Bulldogs sputtered at the start of the singles round. First to finish were junior Martin Svenning and Doehler, who both fell in straight-set matches. Yale's Tyler Lu restored some hope, however, with the highlight of the day: a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory over Harvard's No. 1 player Denis Nguyen, who is currently ranked No. 39 in the nation. In his best performance of the season, Lu matched his opponent shot for shot and rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to solidify the upset and make the overall match score line 2-2. But with the match hanging in the balance and the remaining three matches all in a third set, the Crimson ultimately pulled away with some clutch performances. After Harvard's No. 5 player Kenny Tao posted his fifth straight win with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 comeback performance over Yale's Daniel Faierman, No. 6 Alex Steinroeder managed to clinch the match for the Crimson with a tight win over Yale's Andrienko. With the match already decided in Harvard's favor, freshman Ziqi Wang then saw his own comeback fall short in an abbreviated third set at the No. 4 singles position.
Despite dropping to 1-4 in Ivy League competition, the Bulldogs can't be too disappointed with their performance on Friday, where just a few games separated them from one of the top teams in the country. And with just one senior (Faierman) having played in this year's Harvard-Yale clash, the team's young nucleus will always have the chance for revenge in the years to come.
Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity
|Position||Yale University||Harvard University||Winner||Score|
|#1 Singles||Tyler Lu||#39 Denis Nguyen||Yale University||6-3, 7-6|
|#2 Singles||Martin Svenning||Nicky Hu||Harvard University||6-2, 6-0|
|#3 Singles||Stefan Doehler||Sebastian Beltrame||Harvard University||6-3, 7-5|
|#4 Singles||Ziqi Wang||Brian Yeung||Harvard University||6-4, 2-6, 4-3|
|#5 Singles||Daniel Faierman||Kenny Tao||Harvard University||2-6, 6-3, 6-3|
|#6 Singles||Fedor Andrienko||Alex Steinroeder||Harvard University||6-0, 4-6, 6-2|
|#1 Doubles|| Fedor Andrienko
| #17 Denis Nguyen
|#2 Doubles|| Daniel Faierman
| Nicky Hu
|#3 Doubles|| Tyler Lu
| Jean Thirouin