Epstein Clinches Match with Tiebreaker Win at No. 2
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Sunday brought a milestone victory for the Yale women's tennis team at Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, and it came in dramatic fashion. With a 4-3 victory over DePaul clinched by a tiebreaker win at No. 2 singles by senior captain Elizabeth Epstein, the Bulldogs ran their streak of consecutive dual match home wins to 30 (indoors and outdoors). It has been nearly three years since Yale last lost at home.
Yale (8-1, 0-0 Ivy League) had to battle all afternoon for the victory. After freshman Madeleine Hamilton and sophomore Amber Li won at No. 2 doubles, the Bulldogs fell at No. 3. The doubles point thus came down to No. 1, where Epstein and junior Annie Sullivan won 8-5 to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the match. That duo has now won five straight matches together.
The doubles point wound up being a crucial advantage for Yale. After Li won quickly at No. 5 singles, 6-2, 6-1, DePaul (9-7, 1-2 Big East) won at No. 1 and No. 3 singles in straight sets to tie the match 2-2. The Blue Demons' No. 1, Ana Vladutu, has now won 24 singles matches and is ranked No. 85 in the country.
At that point Epstein (at No. 2), Sullivan (at No. 4) and freshman Courtney Amos (at No. 6) were the last Bulldogs left playing, and the team needed to win two of those three matches to keep the home winning streak intact. Sullivan split her first two sets with Kelsey Lawson before coming away with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 win to improve to 8-0 in singles this year.
Epstein then wound up grinding out a 6-3, 7-6 win over Patricia Fargas to clinch the match. Epstein, ranked No. 73 in the country, has won six straight singles matches.
Amos, meanwhile, rallied from a 6-4 loss in the first set to take the second set 6-4 but fell 6-3 in the third to make the final score 4-3 DePaul.
The Bulldogs are now 7-0 at home this year. They went 10-0 at home last year, including six 7-0 sweeps and only one 4-3 match (vs. Princeton Apr. 7). They were 12-0 at home in 2011, with no match closer than 5-2. Their last loss at home was on Apr. 18, 2010 (4-3 to Harvard); six days later they beat Brown 5-2 to start their streak.
Yale now travels to Alabama to take part in the Blue-Gray Classic Mar. 15-17.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity
1. No. 85 Matea Cutura (D) def. Madeleine Hamilton (Y) 6-1, 6-1
2. No. 73 Elizabeth Epstein (Y) def. Patricia Fargas (D) 6-3, 7-6
3. Ana Vladutu (D) def. Hanna Yu (Y) 6-2, 6-3
4. Annie Sullivan (Y) def. Kelsey Lawson (D) 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
5. Amber Li (Y) def. Jarret Fisher (D) 6-2, 6-1
6. Zaina Sufi (D) def. Courtney Amos (Y) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Order of Finish: 5, 1, 3, 4, 2, 6
1. Epstein/Sullivan (Y) def. Cutura/Vladutu 8-5
2. A. Li/Hamilton (Y) def. Fargas/Neumann 8-2
3. Sufi/Fisher (D) def. Yu/Guzick (Y) 8-3
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1