Yale Drops Close Match to Rival No. 34 Harvard

Tyler Lu (photo by Alexandra Schmeling)
Tyler Lu (photo by Alexandra Schmeling)

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 
 Stefan Doehler
 #17 Denis Nguyen 
 Brian Yeung
 Yale University  6-2
 #2 Doubles  Daniel Faierman 
 Martin Svenning
 Nicky Hu 
 Sebastian Beltrame
 Harvard University  6-4
 #3 Doubles  Tyler Lu 
 Alex Hagermoser
 Jean Thirouin 
 Grant Solomon
 Yale University  6-2