Hamilton Seals Victory in Nail-Biting Tiebreaker
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Yale women's tennis team advanced to the final of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kick-Off Weekend with a pulsating upset of No. 28 Tulsa. After losing the doubles point and dropping two singles matches, No. 36 Yale was on the verge of defeat before sophomore Madeleine Hamilton staged a courageous comeback at No. 1 singles. The 4-3 win sends Yale into a tough encounter against No. 11 Michigan on Sunday.
The contest for the doubles point saw both teams post fairly straightforward wins at the outset. At No. 2 doubles, Yale's duo of Hamilton and sophomore Ree Ree Li defeated Tulsa's pairing of Rongrong Leenabanchong and Maria Sant'Anna without dropping a game. At No. 3 doubles, Renata Kuricova and Yelena Nemchen returned the favor with a 6-1 win over junior Amber Li and freshman Sherry Li. The doubles point came down to the match at No. 1 doubles, in which Yale's top team of senior captain Annie Sullivan and junior Hanna Yu suffered a rare defeat to Tulsa's tandem of Isaura Enrique and Samantha Vickers.
The doubles point in hand, Tulsa struggled to capitalize on the advantage once singles play began. Sullivan, Yu and Ree Ree Li all recorded comprehensive wins at No's. 3, 4 and 5 singles, respectively. Notably, Sullivan's 6-3, 6-1 victory came against Nemchen, the No. 46 player in the nation. Ree Ree Li won her match for the loss of just one game, and Yu hung tough in two contentious sets to keep the Bulldogs on track for the comeback. Tulsa managed to keep the match fairly even, however, with wins at No. 2 and No. 6 singles. The win at No. 2 singles did not come easily, however, as Isaura Enrique narrowly edged Sherry Li 6-4, 4-6, 12-10.
The decisive tussle of the day came at No. 1 singles, a match that pitted Hamilton against Vickers, the No. 47 player in the country. Though Vickers started strongly with a quick first set, Hamilton stood resilient and fought back to force a third-set tiebreaker. Once in the tiebreaker, Hamilton took her chances to clinch the 2-6, 6-3, 10-7 triumph and lift her team past the higher-ranked Tulsa squad.
The upset gives Yale the chance to score another upset on Sunday against Michigan. The Wolverines rolled No. 54 Virginia Tech 6-1 on Saturday. Michigan boasts three top-100 players on its roster, as well as two top-11 doubles teams. The match between Yale and Michigan will take place Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Michigan's courts. The winner will receive an invitation to the Feb. 6-9 ITA National Team Indoor Championship at the Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va.
Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity
(1) Madeleine Hamilton (Yale) d. Samantha Vickers (Tulsa), 2-6, 6-3, 10-7
(2) Isaura Enrique (Tulsa) d. Sherry Li (Yale), 6-4, 4-6, 12-10
(3) Annie Sullivan (Yale) d. Yelena Nemchen (Tulsa), 6-3, 6-1
(4) Hanna Yu (Yale) d. Maria Sant'Anna (Tulsa), 6-4, 6-3
(5) ReeRee Li (Yale) d. Saana Saarteinen (Tulsa), 6-1, 6-0
(6) Marcelina Cichon (Tulsa) d. Amber Li (Yale), 6-2, 6-3
(1) Samantha Vickers/Isaura Enrique (Tulsa) d. Annie Sullivan/Hanna Yu (Yale), 6-3
(2) ReeRee Li/Madeleine Hamilton (Yale) d. Rongrong Leenabanchong/Maria Sant'Anna (Tulsa), 6-0
(3) Renata Kuricova/Yelena Nemchen (Tulsa) d. Sherry Li/Amber Li (Yale), 6-1