Yale Looks to Start Fall Season Strong in Philadelphia
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Following a long offseason, the Yale men's tennis team will travel to Philadelphia this weekend to kick off its fall season at the fifth annual Penn Invitational. The Elis will be looking to replicate their success in this event last year, when they posted impressive victories in singles and went 11-7 overall in doubles. The tournament, hosted by the Penn men's tennis team at the Hamlin and Hecht Tennis Centers, will feature competitors from eight other schools in the Northeast region: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Furman, Georgetown, Navy, Old Dominion and William & Mary. The tournament format is geared toward the large field of players, with eight singles flights and four doubles flights.
Coming at the start of the season, the Penn Invitational not only presents an opportunity for Yale's newest players to prove themselves, but also serves as a useful checkup for players who have spent a full summer away from competition. So while several Bulldogs will be competing for their first collegiate victory this weekend, others will be working to shake off some rust and position themselves well for the season to come. As a recent example, the major standouts from last year's Penn Invitational – Alex Hagermoser, Dennis Wang and Ziqi Wang – all built on their early season success to earn starting singles spots and become three of Yale's most important players during the 2015-16 campaign.
After suffering an injury that sidelined him for a significant part of last season, senior captain Tyler Lu will relish a return to action this weekend. Ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) as the No. 94 singles player in the nation, Lu will be instrumental to the team's success this year; a strong weekend at the Penn Invitational would signify a full return to health and position him for another dominant season. As team captain, Lu will also serve as a veteran example for the team's three freshmen – Ryan Cheng, Andrew Heller and Dylan King – who are set to experience collegiate competition for the first time this weekend.
As the tournament features doubles competition, Yale will also look to experiment with doubles combinations for the first time, although the No. 1 doubles pairing for the last two years (Fedor Andrienko and Stefan Doehler) will likely stick together. One player to watch is senior Photos Photiades, who notched an impressive 20-12 doubles record last season and will likely factor into the Elis' doubles plans this season. Sophomores Charlie Adams and Nathan Brown will also merit attention as they enter the second year of their Yale careers.
Though a successful 2016-17 season will not hinge on a single weekend's results, a solid start could lay the foundation for a great journey. The action in Philadelphia will begin at 9 a.m. each day Friday through Sunday, and wrap up at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity