Hagermoser Posts Three-Set Victory; Heller Prevails in Two Qualifying Matches to Advance to Main Draw of Northeast Regionals
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- The ITA Northeast Regional Championships kicked off in Philadelphia on Thursday with qualifying singles action. Yale's Alex Hagermoser and Andrew Heller were the only players to take the court on the event's first day, as the six other Bulldogs selected for the event – Fedor Andrienko, Ryan Cheng, Stefan Doehler, Dylan King, Tyler Lu and Ziqi Wang – earned a direct berth into the tournament's main draw. Both Hagermoser and Heller came into their Thursday morning matches knowing that they would need two straight wins to advance to the tournament's main rounds. Despite such pressure, both players delivered with some of their best tennis, with Heller winning both of his matches to secure a place in tomorrow's main draw singles action.
Heller's first opponent, Ben Tso, came into the match with a strong record as one of Princeton's starting doubles players. Although his opponent pushed him in both sets, Heller refused to give the Tiger an opening, ultimately taking the match 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the final round of qualifying. Facing Marist's Dylan Fletcher in the day's final round, Heller continued to impress with his confident play; despite the quality of his opponent (Fletcher has proven himself as a starting singles player for Marist), he notched a relatively smooth 7-5, 6-1 victory. Along with his fellow freshmen Cheng and King, Heller has started the season in exceptional fashion, boasting an 11-3 overall singles record thus far.
Yale senior Alex Hagermoser also impressed on Thursday by grinding out a pair of extremely tight matches. Taking on Boston College's Sean Mullins in his first match, Hagermoser initially fell behind by dropping the first set in an 8-6 tiebreak; the veteran Bulldog rebounded in style, however, by taking the next two sets 6-0, 7-6(2) and clinching a narrow victory. Perhaps fatigued by this long first round match, Hagermoser fell just short in his next match, which was a 6-4, 7-6 battle with Brown's Charles Tan.
Hagermoser and Heller represented the Elis well on Thursday, and both will undoubtedly play a crucial role in the season to come. The freshman Heller is set to face Boston College's Hank Workman in Friday's opening slate of main draw matches.
Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity