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Sullivan’s Clutch Play Lifts No. 34 Yale Past Pepperdine, 4-3

Annie Sullivan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Annie Sullivan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

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.

The website for the 2013 Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic can be found here.  Live scoring will be available throughout the tournament here.

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity

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Position  Yale University  Pepperdine  Winner  Score
 #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
 Annie Sullivan
 #13 Khunpak Issara
 Lorraine Guillermo
 Pepperdine  9-8(5)
 #2 Doubles  Amber Li
 Madeleine Hamilton
 Ale Granillo
 Michaela Capannolo
 Pepperdine  8-3
 #3 Doubles  Courtney Amos
 Hanna Yu
 Danielle Feneridis
 Megan Moore
 Yale University  8-2