Sullivan’s Clutch Play Lifts No. 34 Yale Past Pepperdine, 4-3
Amos, Li, Sullivan and Yu Win Singles Matches to Complete Bulldog Comeback
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Yale women's tennis team fought its way into the semifinals of the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic Friday with a dramatic 4-3 victory over Pepperdine at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center. No. 34 Yale (9-1, 0-0 Ivy) failed to secure the doubles point after a tense clash at the No. 1 spot, but the Bulldogs roared back in singles play. The comeback culminated in junior Annie Sullivan staging a courageous fight-back that included a pressure-filled finish in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 3 singles.
With the No. 13 doubles team in the country headlining the skilled Pepperdine squad, the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs knew from the outset that Friday's outing would be a tough one. Indeed, after the two teams split wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, the pivotal doubles point came down to the ongoing match at No. 1 doubles between Yale's duo of senior Elizabeth Epstein and Sullivan and the No. 13 Pepperdine tandem of Lorraine Guillermo and Khunpak Issara. After a lengthy back-and-forth tussle, the Waves gained the upper hand in a tiebreaker to gain the advantage going into singles.
Despite this disheartening setback, the Bulldogs refused to back down and came out firing in singles. Sophomore Amber Li maintained her perfect record in singles with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Megan Moore at the No. 5 spot. Freshman Courtney Amos added a vital win at No. 6 singles, defeating Danielle Feneridis 6-4, 6-3. At No. 4 singles, sophomore Hanna Yu fended off a comeback from Pepperdine's Michaela Capponolo, finishing strong in the third set to record the 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 triumph. Yu's three-set win put the overall score at 3-3, which gave Sullivan, playing at No. 3 singles, the chance to clinch. The experienced Sullivan seized the opportunity, blitzing through the second set of her match before drawing upon her physical and mental reserves to edge out a third-set tiebreaker to upset her opponent, No. 110 Ale Granillo.
The triumph sees Yale advance to semifinal round of the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic, where the Bulldogs will take on No. 47 Virginia. The Cavaliers will provide another stern test for Yale, as they boast two nationally ranked singles players, including No. 13 Julia Elbaba, and two nationally ranked doubles teams, including the No. 10 pairing of Maci Epstein and Erin Vierra. The match is scheduled to take place at 11:00 a.m. CDT (12:00 p.m. EDT) on Saturday at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center.
Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity
|#1 Singles||Madeleine Hamilton||#54 Lorraine Guillermo||Pepperdine||6-4,6-4|
|#2 Singles||#99 Elizabeth Epstein||#56 Khunpak Issara||Pepperdine||6-4,7-5|
|#3 Singles||Annie Sullivan||#110 Ale Granillo||Yale University||3-6,6-0,7-6(4)|
|#4 Singles||Hanna Yu||Michaela Capannolo||Yale University||6-1,4-6,6-2|
|#5 Singles||Amber Li||Megan Moore||Yale University||7-5,6-2|
|#6 Singles||Courtney Amos||Danielle Feneridis||Yale University||6-4,6-3|
|#1 Doubles|| Elizabeth Epstein
| #13 Khunpak Issara
|#2 Doubles|| Amber Li
| Ale Granillo
|#3 Doubles|| Courtney Amos
| Danielle Feneridis