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Bulldogs Hang Tough in Opening Round Defeat

Stefan Doehler. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Stefan Doehler. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

King Shines in Singles and Doubles as Elis Fall to No. 2 Cornell, 5-1

PRINCETON, NJ – The Yale men's tennis team played its first match of the annual ECAC Championships on Friday, taking on tournament No. 2 seed Cornell in a conference matchup. Both teams came into Friday's clash with impressive spring records, with Yale having lost just one match from five and Cornell undefeated at 6-0. Although the Elis hung tough and played competitive matches across the board, they ultimately felt the absence of No. 2 singles player Ziqi Wang in a 5-1 loss. Despite the final score line, the Bulldogs will find consolation in the performance of several key contributors, as well as the overall competitive nature of the match. 

Friday's match opened with a fiercely contested round of doubles. At the No. 2 spot, freshman duo Ryan Cheng and Dylan King made an early statement for Yale, edging Cornell's Bernardo Casares and Chris Vrabel 6-4; the young pairing has established a strong chemistry together, and this narrow victory improved their record on the season to 6-1. Finding themselves on the brink of dropping the doubles point, however, Cornell managed to bounce back at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. In the No. 1 spot, Yale's Stefan Doehler and Alex Hagermoser fell just short to Cornell's Colin Sinclair and David Volfson in a 6-4 match; seniors Tyler Lu and Photos Photiades also lost by an identical score at the No. 3 position. Although both the No. 1 and No. 3 teams had a chance to clinch the opening point for Yale, the Big Red escaped with the point due to their ability to hold serve at crucial moments.

After competing so well in doubles, the Elis entered the singles round with the firm belief that they could turn things around. Yale freshman Dylan King was among the first to finish, securing the Bulldogs' lone singles victory in a 6-3, 6-4 performance over Cornell's Vrabel; for the talented freshman, this result not only marked his second career victory over a nationally ranked opponent (Vrabel currently ranks No. 114 in the country), but also improved his singles record on the season to a phenomenal 18-3. Fellow freshman Andrew Heller also competed well in his match at No. 5 singles, playing quality tennis in a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Cornell's Pietro Rimondini. The junior Doehler also took part in one of the closest matches of the day, falling to Cornell's No. 3 player Sinclair 6-3, 6-4. Top player Tyler Lu's match against Cornell's Kozakov, which featured intensely competitive tennis, was ultimately suspended once the Big Red secured the 5-1 victory. 

Considering key contributor Ziqi Wang's absence from the lineup, the Elis did well to push Cornell, a side that looks to be one of the strongest in the Ivy League (and the country) this year. Still, with their next match coming against the loser between Harvard and Princeton, the Bulldogs have little time to dwell on Friday's result; Yale's consolation round match will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. 

Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity

FULL MATCH RESULTS – Cornell 5, Yale 1

 Position  Yale University  Cornell University  Winner  Score
 #1 Singles  Tyler Lu  Lev Kozakov  Unfinished  
 #2 Singles  Dylan King  #114 Chris Vrabel  Yale University  6-3, 6-4
 #3 Singles  Stefan Doehler  Colin Sinclair  Cornell University  6-3, 6-4
 #4 Singles  Ryan Cheng  Daniel Grunberger  Cornell University  6-0, 6-4
 #5 Singles  Andrew Heller  Pietro Rimondini  Cornell University  6-4, 6-2
 #6 Singles  Dennis Wang  Bernardo Casares Rosa  Cornell University  6-1, 6-4
 #1 Doubles  Stefan Doehler 
 Alex Hagermoser
 Colin Sinclair 
 David Volfson
 Cornell University  6-4
 #2 Doubles  Ryan Cheng 
 Dylan King
 Chris Vrabel 
 Bernardo Casares Rosa
 Yale University  6-4
 #3 Doubles  Tyler Lu 
 Photos Photiades
 Lev Kozakov 
 Dylan Brown
 Cornell University  6-4