Yale (16-7) to Play Away Matches Against No. 26 Cornell (19-3) on Saturday, No. 23 Columbia (15-4) on Sunday
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Following a 4-1 victory over Penn this past Sunday, the Yale men's tennis team is set to play its final two matches of the Ivy League season this upcoming weekend with away fixtures against Columbia and Cornell. Given that both Columbia and Cornell boast high national rankings (No. 23 and 26, respectively) and are currently tied for first in the Ivy League with 4-1 conference records, the Elis will head into both matches as underdogs. During their 11-match win streak earlier this spring, however, the Bulldogs showed the ability to beat any opponent on any given day; a dramatic 4-3 loss to No. 11 Cal nearly saw Yale topple one of the best squads in the country.
Yale's opponent on Saturday, Cornell, heads into the weekend with a four-match win streak. The Big Red's most recent victory, a 4-2 victory over league leaders Harvard, saw No. 1 singles player Colin Sinclair notch a crucial three-set win in singles; he will face Yale's Tyler Lu on Saturday in a clash between two of the Ivy League's elite singles players. Lu will be looking to avenge the result of the two players' match earlier this season on Oct. 23, when Sinclair edged the Bulldog 6-7, 6-3, 6-3. As Lu has yet to drop a set in singles so far this Ivy League season, a win on Saturday would strengthen his case to be Ivy League player of the year. Cornell's recent win over Harvard also saw No. 6 player Daniel Grunberger clinch the match with a three-set victory; he will likely face Yale's Ryan Cheng on Saturday in the freshman's second match back from injury. Cornell's Pietro Rimondi has also been a force this season at No. 5 singles, and will be looking for his seventh straight win against Yale's Andrew Heller.
Yale's opponent on Sunday, Columbia, is ranked three spots ahead of Cornell in the national rankings and was considered Ivy League title favorite before falling in a surprise upset to Harvard this past weekend. The Lions' No. 2 player Victor Pham, who at No. 71 is the second-highest ranked player in the Ivy League behind Yale's Lu, has been a major contributor this season; he will face junior Ziqi Wang on Sunday in what promises to be an exciting match. Yale's Stefan Doehler and Dylan King will also need to play well in the middle of the singles lineup, where Columbia's No. 3 player Jackie Tang and No. 4 player Alex Keyser have found success. The Bulldogs' No. 1 doubles pairing of Fedor Andrienko and Alex Hagermoser will also look to record their fifth win out of six matches against Columbia's nationally ranked top team, Shawn Hadavi and Jackie Tang.
This weekend poses a major test for the Elis, who would finish the season on a high note by notching an upset victory. Saturday's match is set to begin at 1:00 p.m. at Cornell's Reis Tennis Center in Ithaca, N.Y. Sunday's match will start at the same time and take place at Columbia's Dick Savitt Tennis Center.
Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity