Yale Beats Elon in Thriller

Stefan Doehler. Photo by Steve Musco.
Stefan Doehler. Photo by Steve Musco.

King Wins in Singles and Doubles; Doehler Wins in Thriller to Push Yale Past Elon, 4-3

ELON, NC – After a thrilling 4-2 win over No. 45 William & Mary on Saturday, the Yale men's tennis team traveled to North Carolina on Sunday to take on Elon. In one of the closest matches in recent memory – the result could have been decided by a single point either way – the Elis emerged with a clutch 4-3 victory. Among Sunday's top performers were Stefan Doehler and Dylan King, with the former fighting off several match points in singles to clinch the win for Yale, and the latter securing crucial victories in both doubles and singles. 

Sunday's match began with doubles, and the Bulldogs dominated for the second straight day. At the No. 2 spot, Yale's Nathan Brown and King kicked things off by earning a 6-2 win over Elon's Felipe Sarrasague and Salvador Mijares; this result marked the duo's third win in their last four matches together. Not long after, Yale's Andrew Heller and Ziqi Wang clinched the doubles point with a dominant 6-2 win over Elon's No. 3 team Camilo Ponce and Taylor Foot. Like their teammates at the No. 2 spot, Heller and Wang have heated up recently, posting a 4-1 record in their last five matches.

After a somewhat lopsided round of doubles, the Bulldogs found things much tougher in singles. The opposition drew blood first at No. 3 singles, where Elon's Kyle Frankel edged Ziqi Wang 6-3, 6-4; soon after, Elon seized the lead through Ponce, who earned a 6-4, 6-2 win over Yale's Alan Sou at the No. 6 spot. With momentum on Elon's side, Yale's No. 2 player Dylan King responded well and leveled the match score by beating Mario Paccini 6-2, 7-5; this result extended the Bulldog's winning streak in singles to four matches.

However, after Elon's Sarrasague downed Heller at the top singles spot, the Elis found themselves in a daunting 3-2 deficit. It was Andrienko who restored some hope at the No. 5 spot, with the Yale senior storming back from a 6-4 first set loss to take the remaining two sets 6-3, 7-5 and earn an important win over Elon's Felipe Osses-Konig. Sunday's victory once again highlighted Andrienko's indispensable role on the team, as he has now won eight of his last nine singles matches.

With the match score tied at 3-3, pressure fell on senior captain Stefan Doehler to deliver at No. 4 singles. After splitting the first two sets of his match against Elon's Mijares, Doehler found himself down 4-1 in the third, with prospects of a comeback looking slim. However, in what Cary Leeds Head Coach Alex Dorato described as simply an "incredible effort," Doehler managed to fight his way back into the match, saving five match points en route to winning the third set 7-5. The resilience Yale's captain showed on Sunday to clinch the result for the Bulldogs will be remembered for a long time. 

Looking back on the weekend's road trip, the Elis can take pride in their elite level of play: Sunday's narrow victory not only marked Yale's fourth straight win, but also improved the team's dual match record to 6-4. The team will next take the court at home on Mar. 10 against NJIT.

Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity
 

FULL MATCH RESULTS – Yale 4, Elon 3

Doubles

  1. Andrienko/Doehler (Y) vs. Port/Paccini (E), DNF
  2. Brown/King (Y) def. Sarrasague/Mijares (E), 6-2
  3. Heller/Z. Wang (Y) def. Ponce/Foot (E), 6-2

Singles

  1. Sarrasague (E) def. Heller (Y), 6-1; 6-4
  2. King (Y) def. Paccini (Y), 6-2; 7-5
  3. Frankel (E) def. Z. Wang (Y), 6-3; 6-4
  4. Doehler (Y) def. Mijares (E), 7-5; 2-6; 7-5
  5. Andrienko (Y) def. Osses-Konig (E), 4-6; 6-3; 7-5
  6. Ponce (E) def. Sou (Y), 6-4; 6-2