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First-Year Players Shine on Opening Day of Bulldog Invitational

Elizabeth Zordani. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Elizabeth Zordani. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Levine, Martinelli Notch Three-Set Singles Wins; Four Bulldogs Win in Doubles 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's tennis team hosted the opening day of the Bulldog Invitational on Friday, taking on a strong Dartmouth side in a competitive match. Although the Big Green ultimately won more matches on the day, the Elis played well across the board in their first action of the season. Notably, first-year players Samantha Martinelli and Mimi Levine both posted three-set victories at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively; four other players also did well to win a pair of matches in doubles.

The Bulldogs kicked off Friday's match on a positive note in doubles, with Yale's Amy Yang and Sunday Swett cruising to a 6-2 victory over Dartmouth's Maddie Hwang and Allison McCann at the No. 3 position. Although the Elis fell in close matches at No. 1 and No. 4 doubles, senior duo Valerie Shklover and Elizabeth Zordani closed out doubles play convincingly at the No. 2 spot, submitting a clutch 7-6(5) victory over Dartmouth's Abigail Chiu and Julia Schroeder. Having played together in a few matches last season, Shklover and Zordani showed impressive chemistry together, and look to be a formidable veteran pairing going forward.

After an intense round of doubles, both teams played a number of tightly contested singles matches, with five of eight matches reaching a third set. At No. 6 singles, Yale sophomore Opala Dhingra started well against Dartmouth's McCann by winning the first set 6-4; her opponent, however, showed toughness to come back and narrowly take the next two sets 6-2, 6-4. Yale's Shklover encountered a similar challenge at No. 4 singles, with her opponent Racquel Lyn overcoming a set deficit to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Yale's first-year players Levine and Martinelli responded by prevailing in their own three-set matches. Facing Dartmouth's No. 2 player Schroeder, Levine started slowly by dropping the first set 6-0; the Bulldog roared back soon after, however, edging her opponent in a second-set tiebreak (7-3) and then winning the final set 6-4. All four singles matches Levine has played so far this year have reached third sets; especially in the context of a long season, tough matches in October serve as invaluable match experience for any first-year player. Martinelli also played an incredibly close match on Friday, overcoming Dartmouth's No. 1 player Kristina Mathis in a marathon 6-1, 6-7(3), 7-6(3) victory.

Given time constraints, the fifth three-set match of the day – between Yale's Sonal Shrivastava and Dartmouth's Jasmine Abidi at No. 8 singles – was decided by a super tiebreak instead of a full third set. Although Shrivastava had done well to win a tiebreak in the first set, she fell just short in the deciding tiebreak, with Abidi taking the match 6-7(4), 6-2, 10-3.

After a promising first day at the Bulldog Invitational, the Elis will look to carry positive momentum into tomorrow's match against Cornell. The ball is set to drop tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at Yale's home courts. 

Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity


FULL MATCH RESULTS – Dartmouth 8, Yale 4 


1.       Martinelli v. Mathis 6-1, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (2)

2.       Levine v. Schroeder 0-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4

3.       Yang v. Chiu 3-6, 4-6

4.       Shklover v. Lyn 6-4, 3-6, 1-6

5.       Zordani v. Hwang 1-6, 4-6

6.       Dhingra v. McCann 6-4, 2-6, 4-6

7.       Swett v. Guan 4-6, 0-6

8.       Shrivastava v. Abidi 7-6(4), 2-6, 3-10 


1.       Levine/Martinelli v. Mathis/Lyn 5-7

2.       Shklover/Zordani v. Chiu/Schroeder 7-6(5)

3.       Yang/Swett v. Hwang/McCann 6-2

4.       Shrivastava/Dhingra v. Guan/Abidi 4-6