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Yale Drops Close Match to No. 47 Cornell

Andrew Heller. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Andrew Heller. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Facing tough competition, the Yale men's tennis team battled hard, falling to No. 47 Cornell 4-2 in a tight home match at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. Despite the strength of Cornell's roster and its success this season, the Bulldogs played well, keeping the match close throughout. After a strong start, they unfortunately lost some steam, however, with Cornell gaining momentum during singles play.

Yale's doubles pairs came out of the gates prepared, continuing the success that the new lineup has seen in the past few matches. At the No. 1 spot, senior Fedor Andrienko and sophomore Dylan King notched a strong 6-3 win over Cornell duo David Volfson and Alafia Ayeni. This win showed significant progress, as Volfson and Ayeni have found success this season, beating Harvard's No. 1 doubles pair of Kenny Tao and Logan Weber, who had previously topped the Bulldog's No. 1 duo 6-4. The Elis' No. 3 pair Ryan Cheng and Ziqi Wang beat the Big Red's Jake Hansen and Joseph McAllister by the same 6-3 score, clinching the doubles point for Yale. With the point decided, senior and captain Stefan Doehler and Andrew Heller's match against Lev Kazakov and Daniel Grunberger was stopped in the No. 2 position.

After a solid start, the Bulldogs lost a bit of steam during singles play. In the No. 6 spot, Yale's Alan Sou dropped his match 6-1, 6-1 to Cornell's Joseph McAllister to begin play. This win helped Cornell pick up momentum, with Yale struggling to regain control. Yale fell in quick succession in the high-seeded singles matches. Despite a well-fought battle, Yale's King lost 7-5, 6-2 to Volfson in the No. 1 spot after getting topped in a difficult first-set tiebreaker. In a similar situation in the No. 3 match, sophomore Bulldog Andrew Heller came up short against the Big Red's Kazakov in a 7-5, 6-1 defeat. Trailing Cornell 1-3, Yale's captain Doehler took Ayeni to a third set in the No. 2 spot in an eventual 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 defeat. This win clinched the match for the Big Red, but No. 5 singles Andrienko finished his match against Hansen before the match was stopped. He had another strong showing, topping Hansen 6-2, 6-4 in straight sets. With this win and the match decided, the No. 4 match between Yale's Wang and Cornell's Grunberger was cut short, ending the match at 4-2.

While the loss is disappointing, Yale presented great potential in this match, with the new doubles lineup continuing to find success. Despite difficult losses in singles play, two of those matches involved defeats in first-set tiebreakers which could have shifted the momentum had they gone the other way. The Bulldogs will look to rebound tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. in another home match against No. 16 Columbia.

Report by Kiran Damodaran '21, Yale Sports Publicity

FULL MATCH RESULTS - Yale 2, Cornell 4

Position  Yale University  Cornell University  Winner  Score
 #1 Singles  Dylan King  David Volfson  Cornell University  7-5, 6-2
 #2 Singles  Stefan Doehler  Alafia Ayeni  Cornell University  6-4, 4-6, 6-1
 #3 Singles  Andrew Heller  Lev Kazakov  Cornell University  7-5, 6-1
 #4 Singles  Ziqi Wang  Daniel Grunberger  Unfinished  DNF
 #5 Singles  Fedor Andrienko  Jake Hansen  Yale University  6-2, 6-4
 #6 Singles  Alan Sou  Joseph McAllister  Cornell University  6-1, 6-1
 #1 Doubles  Fedor Andrienko 
 Dylan King
 David Volfson 
 Alafia Ayeni
 Yale University  6-3
 #2 Doubles  Stefan Doehler 
 Andrew Heller
 Lev Kazakov 
 Daniel Grunberger
 #3 Doubles  Ryan Cheng 
 Ziqi Wang
 Jake Hansen 
 Joseph McAllister
 Yale University  6-3