Yale Gets Second Straight Victory

Ziqi Wang (photo by Alexandra Schmeling '16)
Ziqi Wang (photo by Alexandra Schmeling '16)

4-3 Victory Over Buffalo

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's tennis team played its second home match of the weekend on Saturday, taking on Buffalo in a regional matchup. The Bulldogs, who came into the match looking to avenge a narrow 4-3 loss in this fixture a year ago, fielded a young starting lineup for the second straight day, with freshmen Ryan Cheng, Andrew Heller and Dylan King all assuming starting singles positions. Although the Elis faced significant adversity throughout the match, they ultimately rose to the occasion at home to notch a 4-3 victory and improve their dual match to a perfect 2-0.

Saturday's action began with a round of doubles, and the teams appeared evenly matched from the outset. While veteran pairing Stefan Doehler and Alex Hagermoser fell in a close 6-4 match to Buffalo's Villhelm Fridell and Filip Grbic at No. 1 doubles, freshman duo Cheng and King responded with a narrow victory of their own, edging Buffalo's No. 3 team Tony Miller and Ethan Nittolo, 6-4. With the doubles point resting on the shoulders of Lu and Ziqi Wang at No. 2 doubles, the stakes of the remaining match were high; after leveling the score to 6-6, however, the Elis fell just short in a 7-6 defeat to Buffalo's Hao Sheng Koay and Vidit Vaghela.  

After dropping the doubles point in such dramatic fashion, the Bulldogs showed impressive resilience to bounce back in singles. Senior captain Lu led the way at No. 1 singles for the second straight day, cruising to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Buffalo's Vaghela; this result improved his singles record on the season to 10-4. Freshman Dylan King also followed up his three-set victory on Friday with a straight-set victory on Saturday, topping Petr Vodak 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 3 spot. Doehler won his match by a similar score at No. 4 singles, downing Buffalo's Koay 6-4, 6-4.

With the tide turning Yale's way, Buffalo managed to level the score with a pair of narrow victories at No. 5 and No. 6 singles; although both matches featured first set tiebreaks, Buffalo's players managed to pull away in the second set to even the overall match score at 3-3. With the pressure at its highest, Saturday's match came down to junior Ziqi Wang's third set at No. 2 singles. After splitting the first two sets, both players were fatigued at the finish; the Bulldog ultimately showed the most stamina, taking the final set by a comfortable margin and winning the match 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. This dramatic victory will serve as yet another highlight of Wang's season, as the junior has excelled with a 9-3 overall singles record.

After a promising unbeaten start to the dual match season, the Elis look poised to make a splash in the Ivy League this spring. The team's next match will take place on Feb. 4 against Furman as part of the annual Army Shootout.

Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity

FULL MATCH RESULTS -- Yale 4, Buffalo 3

Position  Yale University  University at Buffalo  Winner  Score
 #1 Singles  Tyler Lu  Vidit Vaghela  Yale University  6-2, 6-2
 #2 Singles  Ziqi Wang  Villhelm Fridell  Yale University  6-4,2-6, 6-2
 #3 Singles  Dylan King  Petr Vodak  Yale University  6-3, 6-4
 #4 Singles  Stefan Doehler  Hao Sheng Koay  Yale University  6-4, 6-4
 #5 Singles  Ryan Cheng  Villhelm Fridell  University at Buffalo  7-6, 6-2
 #6 Singles  Andrew Heller  Ethan Nittolo  University at Buffalo  7-6, 6-3
 #1 Doubles  Stefan Doehler 
 Alex Hagermoser
 Filip Grbic 
 Villhelm Fridell
 University at Buffalo  6-4
 #2 Doubles  Tyler Lu 
 Ziqi Wang
 Hao Sheng Koay 
 Vidit Vaghela
 University at Buffalo  7-6
 #3 Doubles  Ryan Cheng 
 Dylan King
 Tony Miller 
 Ethan Nittolo
 Yale University  6-4