No. 1 Seeded Bulldogs Set to Face Pepperdine in First-Round Match
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Less than a week after securing a memorable 30th straight victory at home, the Yale women's tennis team travels to Montgomery, Ala., to compete in the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic. No. 34 Yale (8-1, 0-0 Ivy) enters the tournament, which will take place at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center and O'Connor Tennis Center, as the No. 1 seed. The Bulldogs will challenge a talented Pepperdine squad (0-8, 0-0 WCC) in their opener on Friday at 11:00 a.m. CDT (12:00 p.m. EDT).
Yale's dramatic milestone win over DePaul not only extended an ongoing home winning streak that spans nearly three years but also extended its current overall winning streak to six matches. This string of victories is sure to give the Bulldogs a confidence boost going into the match against Pepperdine. Yale will have to be on top of its doubles game, as the Waves, though unranked as a team, boast the No. 13 doubles team in the nation, the duo of Khunpak Issara and Lorraine Guillermo. As it turns out, the Bulldogs appear to be in peak doubles form, if their most recent encounters against DePaul and St. John's are any indication. At No. 1 doubles, the pairing of senior captain Elizabeth Epstein and junior Annie Sullivan is on a five-match winning streak. The duo of freshman Madeleine Hamilton and sophomore Amber Li is also playing well at the moment, having secured two relatively comfortable wins at No. 2 doubles last weekend.
Having clinched Yale's nail-biting win over DePaul at the No. 2 spot, No. 99 Epstein will like her chances to contribute to Bulldog success at the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic. She has put together a stellar 8-1 record on the season. Hamilton has proven to be a dependable No. 1 player in her rookie season, having posted a 6-3 win-loss mark so far. Li is yet to lose in singles this season and conceded a mere seven games between her two matches this past weekend. Sullivan is also undefeated this season and finished particularly strong in her match against her DePaul opponent.
Just as in doubles, the Bulldogs will have to bring their absolute best in singles, as no less than three ranked singles players—Guillermo at No. 54, Issara at No. 56 and Ale Granillo at No. 110—headline the Pepperdine squad. Though the Waves have yet to win a match this season, they have so far been pitted against some of the best teams in the country.
The winner of the match between Yale and Pepperdine will take on the winner of the match between No. 47 Virginia and Michigan State. The Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic guarantees each team three matches, so the losing squad will be placed into a consolation bracket.
The Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic has been held in Montgomery, Ala., since 1949. For more than 60 years, the event has attracted the top college players in the country, with many going on to succeed at the highest echelons of the professional ranks. The website for the 2013 tournament can be found here. Live scoring will be available throughout the tournament here.
Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity