Yale Edged by No. 28 Harvard in Heartbreaking 4-3 Loss

Ziqi Wang. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Ziqi Wang. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In an unbelievable effort, Yale fell to No. 28 Harvard 4-3 today in an away match, marking its second conference defeat. While the loss sets the Bulldogs off to a difficult 0-2 start in league play, the match showed the tremendous potential of the team, as it showed grit and skill competing with the second highest-ranked team in the Ivy League Conference and the frontrunner to win the conference.

The Bulldogs had a tough start, losing the doubles point to Harvard in tight matches, with No. 3 pair Ziqi Wang and Andrew Heller falling 6-2 to Harvard's Andy Zhou and Robert Wrzesinski. In a close 6-4 match at the No. 1 spot, seniors Fedor Andrienko and Stefan Doehler battled in a loss against the Crimson's Kenny Tao and Logan Weber, who are ranked as the 77th best doubles pair in the country. When Harvard gained the doubles point, young Yale duo Ryan Cheng and Dylan King were trailing the Crimson's Grant Solomon and Christopher Morrow 4-5.

Despite this difficult beginning, the Elis bounced back strong in singles play. No. 1 singles and sophomore stud Dylan King set the tone for these matches in a great 6-4, 6-4 win over Harvard's Kenny Tao. Yale's Wang was similarly effective, beating the Crimson's Solomon in a strong 6-4, 6-1 showing. These matches gave Yale a 2-1 lead, providing hope for a possible upset over its rival school.

However, Harvard wasted no time evening the score, with Zhou gaining a clean 6-3, 6-3 win over Bulldog sophomore Andrew Heller. Yale rebounded quickly, retaking the lead with another win in the No. 5 spot, as Andrienko showed experience and poise in the 6-3, 6-4 win over Constantin Zoske. Harvard presented similar composure, with No. 6 singles Galen Lee overtaking Yale's Cheng in a 6-4, 7-5 tiebreaker win.

With the match tied at 3-3, all the pressure fell on the back of senior and captain Stefan Doehler in his match at the No. 3 spot against Robert Wrzesinski. Doehler took the first set 6-3 in commanding fashion, before dropping the second set in a 6-1 loss. After a tough battle, Wrzesinski gained the upper hand, beating Doehler 6-2 in the final set and clinching a 4-3 Harvard win.

Although the loss comes as a disappointment and heartbreaker for all Bulldog fans, the match demonstrated the extremely high potential of this Yale team. This Harvard team is skilled – it recently defeated No. 33 Dartmouth, who defeated Yale 5-2 earlier this weekend. Yale's hard-fought battle with the Crimson shows its ability to compete with all competition and play at a high level, especially in the Ivy League. Having already played two of the highest-ranked opponents in the conference, Yale will have a good opportunity to rebound in its next match at Princeton this coming Saturday.

Report by Kiran Damodaran '21, Yale Sports Publicity

 

FULL MATCH RESULTS - Yale 3, Harvard 4

Position  Harvard University  Yale University  Winner  Score
 #1 Singles  Kenny Tao  Dylan King  Yale University  6-4, 6-4
 #2 Singles  Andy Zhou  Andrew Heller  Harvard University  6-3, 6-3
 #3 Singles  Robertas Wrzesinski  Stefan Doehler  Harvard University  3-6, 6-1, 6-2
 #4 Singles  Grant Solomon  Ziqi Wang  Yale University  6-4, 6-1
 #5 Singles  Constantin Zoske  Fedor Andrienko  Yale University  6-3, 6-4
 #6 Singles  Galen Lee  Ryan Cheng  Harvard University  6-4, 7-5
 #1 Doubles  Logan Weber 
 Kenny Tao
 Fedor Andrienko 
 Stefan Doehler
 Harvard University  6-4
 #2 Doubles  Chris Morrow 
 Grant Solomon
 Ryan Cheng 
 Dylan King
 Unfinished  
 #3 Doubles  Robertas Wrzesinski 
 Andy Zhou
 Ziqi Wang 
 Andrew Heller
 Harvard University  6-2