Harvard Women's Tennis Outlasts No. 35 Yale, 5-2

Amy He earned the clinching victory Sunday afternoon (OAC). 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Freshman Amy He fended off a pair of match points to earn the clinching win, as Harvard outlasted No. 35 Yale, 5-2, in Ivy League women's tennis action Sunday afternoon at the Murr Center Tennis Courts.

He managed to rally time and time again against Madeleine Hamilton in their match at second singles. After dropping the first set, 6-4, He prevailed in the second, 6-1, to force a decisive third. She found herself trailing 5-4 and 6-5 but managed to win the ensuing game to continue the match before falling behind in the tiebreak. Hamilton pulled ahead and had a chance to win the match twice, but He battled back both times and surged ahead 8-7. The pair rallied back and forth until Hamilton sent He's fourth return into the net to seal the win for the Crimson (11-6, 3-2), snap Yale's (16-3, 5-1) seven-match win streak and hand the Bulldogs their first conference loss.  

The afternoon began with the Crimson seizing early momentum against the Bulldogs by taking the doubles point after a trio of close matches. Yale won a tightly contested match at third doubles, as Courtney Amos and Annie Sullivan edged Hai-Li Kong and Hannah Morrill, 8-6. However, Kristin Norton and Sylvia Li, who were playing together for the first time in a match, knocked off Amber Li and Hamilton, 8-6, at No. 2 to even things up. Hideko Tachibana and Amanda Lin then triumphed against Elizabeth Epstein and Hanna Yu, 9-8 (7), in a tiebreak to give Harvard a 1-0 lead.

Lin carried that momentum into her match, making quick work of Amos in a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 6 to extend her personal win streak to 13, and put the Crimson in front 2-0.

The Bulldogs, who entered Sunday as the top-ranked team in the Ivy League, responded by taking matches at No. 1 and No. 3 to even up the score. Epstein topped Tachibana, 6-1, 6-4, in top singles and Sullivan edged Norton, 7-6 (3), 7-5, in the third position.  

Harvard surged back by taking the final three matches to earn its first win against Yale in the last three meetings. Sylvia Li sparked the rally with one of her own against Amber Li at No. 5. After winning the first set, 6-2, she found herself trailing, 5-2, in the second before taking the final five games to prevail, 7-5, and give Harvard its third win of the afternoon with He and Kong left on the courts.

He finished her match first to lock up the victory for Harvard, but Kong made the final margin three with her 10th consecutive victory. She prevailed in the opening set, 7-5, before seeing Yu win six straight games to win the second, 6-4. In the third, the pair went back and forth until Kong won the last two games to prevail, 6-4.

Harvard returns to action Thursday night, making the short trip to Brown to face the Bears at 6 p.m.

No. 1 – Hideko Tachibana/Amanda Lin (H) def. Elizabeth Epstein/Hanna Yu (Y) 9-8(7)
No. 2 – Kristin Norton/Sylvia Li (H) def. Madeleine Hamilton/Amber Li (Y) 8-6
No. 3 – Courtney Amos/Annie Sullivan (Y) def. Hai-Li Kong/Hannah Morrill (H) 8-6

No. 1 – Elizabeth Epstein (Y) def. Hideko Tachibana (H) 6-1, 6-4
No. 2 – Amy He (H) def. Madeleine Hamilton (Y) 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(7)
No. 3 – Annie Sullivan (Y) def. Kristin Norton (H) 7-6(3), 7-5
No. 4 – Hai-Li Kong (H) def. Hanna Yu (Y) 7-5, 4-6, 6-4
No. 5 – Sylvia Li (H) def. Amber Li (Y) 6-2, 7-5
No. 6 – Amanda Lin (H) def. Courtney Amos (Y) 6-1, 6-0