W. Tennis Beats No. 17 Fresno St. on Road Trip

NOT TIR-ED YET
Elan A. Greenwald

Sophomore ALEXIS MARTIRE finished the Harvard women's tennis team's match against Fresno State with a three-set win.

The Harvard women’s tennis team may not have tamed the West over spring break, but it did come home plus two in the win column, despite falling to No. 4 California on Wednesday. The No. 18 Crimson (10-3) notched decisive wins over No. 17 Fresno State, 5-2, and No. 67 Pepperdine, 6-1, on its swing through California.

“Our two wins were fantastic for our team and our team had an immeasurable amount of fun out west,” freshman Eva Wang said.

Harvard kicks off its Ivy season this weekend when it travels to Brown on Friday for a 2 p.m. match and hosts Dartmouth Saturday at 3 p.m.

“I think we’re all just really excited to go into Ivies,” captain Sanja Bajin said. “We’ve had such a great spring, and we’ve played some really good top teams, but we also know that we shouldn’t take any of the Ivy schools lightly just because they aren’t as highly ranked and don’t have as tough as schedule.”

Harvard 5, Fresno St. 2

Harvard began its West Coast trip in fine fashion with its third win over a top-20 team this year by defeating Fresno State (9-7) last Monday afternoon. The Crimson dropped a tough doubles point but bounced back to win five of the six singles matches.

“I think we were all really positive,” Bajin said. “I don’t think we were really phased by losing the doubles point.”

The singles victories tested Harvard’s endurance, as three of the wins took all three sets and sophomore Courtney Bergman was forced to play a first-set tiebreak. Wang secured the Crimson win with her victory at No. 4, making the score 4-2. Sophomore Susanna Lingman pulled out a straight-set win, while classmate Alexis Martire capped off the match with a three-set triumph.

California 6, Harvard 1

Harvard’s only loss of the week came Wednesday afternoon when it fell to national powerhouse California (15-2). Bajin recorded the only Crimson point in the match with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5 over Nicole Havlicek.

“We definitely didn’t roll over and go in there thinking we were going to lose,” Bajin said. “All the matches were really close. It was obviously a little disappointing because we were going in there thinking we had a chance to win.”

The Golden Bears swept the doubles matches, despite Harvard’s success there this season.

“[California and Fresno State are] both top-20 teams, and once you get into the top teams in the nation, doubles is one of the stronger points,” Bajin said. “I think the top teams have more depth, so they have better combinations as teams.”

In the No. 1 doubles match, Bergman and Lingman dropped a 9-8 decision to Raquel Kops-Jones and Christina Fusano. Harvard dropped both the other matches 8-5. Bajin and Martire fell to Jieun Jacobs and Jody Scheldt at No. 2, and Wang and Anderson lost to Havlicek and Catherine Lynch in the third slot.

Though all the singles matches were tight, the Crimson lost in straight sets in the top four spots. Anderson fell in three sets, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, to Scheldt at No. 6.

“Given a better day, or perhaps a different setting, the results would likely be different,” Wang said. “If we play Cal again in the future, I’m sure the battle will be a close one.”

Harvard 6, Pepperdine 1

Harvard’s closed out its spring break trip on a high note with a win over Pepperdine (6-11). The Crimson took the doubles point to jump to a 1-0 lead. The No. 1 duo of Lingman and Bergman defeated Monika Horvath and Charlotte Vernaz 8-2, and the freshman pair of Wang and Anderson beat Ana Andersson and Karin Schlapbach, 8-5 at No. 3.

In the second slot, Bajin and Martire fell to Merve Asimgil and Natalie Braverman, 8-6.

Harvard then went on to dominate in singles competition, winning five of six matches.

Bajin defeated Andersson, 6-2, 6-1, continuing her undefeated streak in singles matchups this spring. Though she is aware of her personal streak, the captain is more concerned with how her wins can help her team.

“I’ve been trying not to think about it,” Bajin said.

In the other singles action, Bergman’s opponent retired at No. 1 and Anderson won by default at No. 6. Martire triumphed over Asimgil in straight sets at No. 3, while both Lingman and Wang used tiebreaks to secure victory.

—Staff writer Sean W. Coughlin can be reached at coughl@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Jessica T. Lee can be reached at lee45@fas.harvard.edu.