Hoffman Stages Big Rally to Win Fourth Consecutive Three-Set Match
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Yale men's tennis team was unable to pull off an upset in the latest chapter of the Harvard-Yale rivalry as it lost to No. 24 Harvard 5-2 on Friday at the Beren Tennis Center. No. 73 Yale narrowly lost the doubles point, and the Crimson then stamped out any hopes of a Bulldog victory by swiftly winning three singles matches to clinch.
Yale (13-9, 2-3 Ivy League) did not get off to the best start, losing the first two doubles matches. Yale's No. 3 team of senior captain Erik Blumenkranz and classmate Joel Samaha came up short against Harvard's team of Andy Nguyen and Denis Nguyen, 8-1. The Crimson then secured the doubles point when Jonathan Pearlman and Christo Schultz recovered from a break down to beat Yale's No. 2 team of sophomore Patrick Chase and junior John Huang, 8-6. At No. 1 doubles, the nationally ranked No. 80 team of juniors Daniel Hoffman and Marc Powers salvaged some momentum for the Elis by upsetting Harvard's nationally ranked No. 57 team of Alistair Felton and Casey MacMaster in a close match, 9-8. The tandem improves to a 15-4 season record.
Harvard, however, quickly got back on track when Andy Nguyen defeated Samaha at the No. 6 spot, 6-3, 6-1. The next match to finish was at No. 4 singles, with Schultz beating Blumenkranz, 6-2, 6-3. The Crimson then clinched the overall victory when its No. 1 player, Pearlman, did what no one else in the Ivy League has been able to do by beating Yale's No. 1 player, Huang. Pearlman won 6-2, 6-3 to end Huang's streaks of nine straight matches and 18 straight sets. Though Harvard had clinched with this win, the last three matches to finish on the day all went the distance. At No. 2 singles, Harvard's Denis Nguyen raced to a 6-1, 4-0 lead against Hoffman before Hoffman staged an enormous comeback to take the second set and then the match, 1-6, 7-5, 1-0 (2). This is Hoffman's fourth consecutive three-set win, and he remains undefeated against Ivy League opponents. Yale's No. 5 player, sophomore Kyle Dawson, then lost by a similar score to Alex Steinroeder, 6-3, 6-7, 1-0 (2). For the second straight match, however, Yale finished off an overall loss with a three-set win, as the Bulldogs' No. 3 player, Powers, came back against Shaun Chaudhuri to win 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and break his three-match losing streak.
With the win, Harvard (20-2, 4-1 Ivy League) extends its winning streak to three matches and solidifies its top spot in the Ivy League standings. The Crimson now hit the road to play No. 51 Brown on Sunday in its penultimate Ivy League match.
Alex Dorato, Cary Leeds Head Coach of Men's Tennis, said he was not too disappointed with the loss and instead finds encouragement from standing toe-to-toe with such a highly ranked team.
"We certainly had a chance to the win the doubles point," said Dorato. "We were right there with a great team."
The Bulldogs return back to their courts on Sunday to play against No. 60 Dartmouth at 2 p.m. in their last home match of the season.
Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1. No. 80 Hoffman/Powers (Yale) def. No. 57 Alistair Felton/Casey MacMaster (Harvard), 9-8
2. Pearlman/Schultz (Harvard) def. Patrick Chase/Huang (Yale), 8-6
3. A. Nguyen/D. Nguyen (Harvard) def. Blumenkranz/Samaha (Yale), 8-1
Order of Finish: 6, 4, 1, 2, 5, 3
1. Jonathan Pearlman (Harvard) def. John Huang (Yale), 6-2, 6-3
2. Daniel Hoffman (Yale) def. Denis Nguyen (Harvard), 1-6, 7-5, 1-0 (2)
3. Marc Powers (Yale) def. Shaun Chaudhuri (Harvard), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
4. Christo Schultz (Harvard) def. Erik Blumenkranz (Yale), 6-2, 6-3
5. Alex Steinroeder (Harvard) def. Kyle Dawson (Yale), 6-3, 6-7, 1-0 (2)
6. Andy Nguyen (Harvard) def. Joel Samaha (Yale), 6-3, 6-1