The Harvard women's tennis team split the weekend, falling 6-1 to a red-hot Penn squad and then dropping Princeton, 5-2, on Saturday.
After the Crimson's disappointing loss on Friday, it immediately tore into the Tigers. Sophomore Sanja Bajin teamed up with co-captain Sanaz Ghazal at No. 1 doubles to defeat Gailor Large and Avanti Bhargava 8-3. Crimson juniors Andrea Magyera and Fleur Broughton then took out Kristi Watson and Meleya McCoy8-1 at the No. 2 spot to win the doubles point.
The singles matches were short on drama, but that was the way Harvard wanted it. Bajin, playing at the top spot, snuck by Large 7-5, 6-3.
At the No. 3 spot Broughton defeated Priya Bhupathi 6-2, 6-2, and the Crimson clinched the match with wins by sophomore Lara Naqushbandi and junior Jennie Timoney at the Nos. 4 and 5 spot.
Only two Princeton players pulled out victories-Watson defeated Ghazal at No. 2 6-3, 6-3, and Jackie Arcorio defeated sophomore Olivia Garcia-McKean in straight sets at the No. 6 spot, 6-4, 6-0.
On Friday, Penn came to the Beren Tennis Center riding a seven-match winning streak, including a perfect Ivy record. Harvard had a perfect Ivy record to match with wins over Cornell and Columbia the week before.
In addition, Penn had not beaten the Crimson since April of 1980.
The excitement began almost immediately. First, the Quakers duo of Shubha Srinivasan and Louani Bascara defeated Naqushbandi and junior Sarah McGinty 8-3 at No. 3 doubles, but the Crimson struck back at No. 2 when Magyera and Broughton won 8-5.
The deciding match at No. 1, which featured Bajin and Ghazal taking on Rochelle Raiss and Rachel Shweky, proved to be a classic. In a strong wind both sides refused to concede defeat. Bajin and Ghazal jumped out to a small lead, but the Penn duo struck right back.
This back-and-forth battle continued when the match went into a tiebreak. As the crowd got more agitated with each point, the teams switched sides once, then again at 6-all. Penn and Harvard split the next four points before Shweky's serve put the Crimson out of commission with a 10-8 tiebreak win.
The Crimson ran out of gas after the intense doubles action. Bajin fell to Sanela Kunovac in three sets, 2-6, 7-6, 1-0 (5), and Ghazal, at No. 2, went quietly down, 6-3, 6-1 to Srinivasan.
Naqushbandi, Garcia-McKean and Timoney all lost at the bottom singles spots.
The only bright spot was Broughton, who had a stellar weekend. At the No. 3 singles position, Broughton made quick work of Penn freshman Nicole Ptak, 6-4, 6-4. But the final score was 6-1 in favor for the Quakers, and it signified that the Crimson could no longer take the team lightly, as it could have for 20 years.
Harvard's Ivy record now stands at 3-1, just behind Penn. It faces Yale at the Beren on Friday before traveling to Providence to face Brown at noon on Saturday.