The Harvard women's tennis team split its southbound Ivy trip this weekend, falling 7-2 to Princeton on Friday before besting Penn 5-4 the next afternoon.
Looking to avenge a heart-breaking 5-4 loss to Princeton in the semifinals of the ECAC fall championships, the Crimson stretched five of six singles matches to the third set before falling to the Ivy leaders.
Clinching the win after sweeping the first four singles matches, Princeton coasted to a 7-2 victory over the Crimson. The Tigers boast an impressive 13-2 record for the year, and hold an impeccable 4-0 Ivy record, the first time since 1998.
No. 1 singles was the battle of the rookies, as freshman Sanja Bajin took on Kavitha Krishnamurthy, Princeton's top seed. Although Krishnamurthy emerged victorious, Bajin went down swinging. She pulled out a close 7-6 win in the first set, but Krishnamurthy dominated the next two sets, 6-3 and 6-1.
Captain Vedica Jain gave the Tigers' Amanda Hastings-Phillips some difficulty, but Princeton's No. 2 proved to be too formidable an opponent. Hastings-Phillips went up 6-3 in a strong first set. Jain battled to equalize the score with a 6-2 triumph of her own in the second, but Hastings-Phillips earned the win with a hard-fought 7-5 win for the match.
Starting in the No. 3 position, junior Sanaz Ghazal came close to pulling out the Crimson's first win but could not unseat Jyotsna Vasisht.
Vasisht notched the first set with a 6-3 victory. Ghazal fought valiantly and nabbed a 6-3 decision of her own in the second stanza. Vasisht stole the match with a 6-3 victory in the third set.
Princeton's Gailor Large owned the fourth seeded singles match, coasting over sophomore Jennie Timoney in two sets, the only singles match that the Crimson lost in straight sets. Large tallied a pair of 6-3 victories over Timoney to nab the win.
Despite having technically lost the match after being swept in the first four singles matches, freshman Lara Naqushbandi's performance was one of the handful of bright spots on the night. Naqushbandi made short work of the Tigers' Pryia Bhupathi in the No. 5 slot, defeating Bhupathi 7-6 and 6-4.
Sophomore Fleur Broughton
rounded out the singles action for the Crimson, falling to Princeton's Kristi Watson in three sets (7-6, 5-7, 6-3).
Harvard did not fare much better in doubles play, nabbing only one of three possible victories.
The tandem of Bajin and Ghazal dominated the pair of Hastings-Phillips and Large, handing them a decisive 8-2 loss.
Vasisht and Watson continued their domination and posted a 9-7 victory at No. 2 doubles over Jain and sophomore Andrea Magyera, who is returning from an injury.
Bhupathi and Krisnamurthy completed the day in the third seeded spot, handing Broughton and sophomore Sarah McGinty an 8-4 loss.
Determined to return from the trip with at least a split, Harvard battled Penn to a 5-4 decision on Saturday. The Crimson dominated the doubles competition to steal the win and break the Quakers' three-match winning streak in the Ivy League.
Bajin returned to the win column with a straight-set victory over Lenka Beranova at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-3.
Jain followed in Bajin's footsteps at the second slot, scoring a victory over Penn's Anastasia Pozdniakova. Jain opened with a 7-5 win, but Pozdniakova knotted the score at one apiece with a 6-3 set. Jain took the third and the match with a decisive 6-1 finish.
Co-Captain Shubha Srinivasan notched the Quaker's first point with a win over Ghazal at No. 3 singles. Ghazal fell in straight sets, 6-4 and 6-2.
Timoney started slowly in the fourth spot, dropping the first set 6-4 to Louani Bascara. Timoney hit her stride and coasted to victory with 6-4 and 6-2 wins in the final two sets.
Penn fought back and leveled the match score at three each with straight-set wins in No. 5 and No. 6 singles. Jolene Sloat blanked Naqushbandi 6-0 in the first set, and rolled to victory with a 6-2 win in the second to capture the No. 5 match-up.
Rochelle Raiss defeated Broughton 6-1 and 6-4 to end singles competition.
Harvard unleashed its strength in the doubles matches, easily controlling the top two spots. The duo of Bajin and Ghazal had no trouble with the pair of Raiss and Beranova, taking the match 8-3.
The Crimson clinched the win with a shutout in the second seed. Jain and Magyera felt no pressure in the crucial match, blanking the team of Pozdniakova and Bascara 8-0.
Co-captain Elana Gold and Srinivasan brought Penn within one, soundly defeating Broughton and McGinty 8-1 in No. 3 doubles, but it was not enough to steal the win.