On Sept. 20, freshmen on the Harvard women’s tennis team played their first competitive collegiate matches at the Tribe Invitational at William & Mary. This past weekend, with just under a month of experience, they proved that they could compete just as well as their more seasoned teammates at the Billie Jean King Invitational in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Freshman Spencer Liang, the top seed in Flight A, had an undefeated run in her draw of 16. She cruised through her first two matches in straight sets before posting a 6-3, 6-0 win against Rutgers’ Vanessa Petrini in the semi-final round. Sivan Krems, from Princeton, gave Liang a more challenging time in the title match when she took the first set, 6-4. Liang had to win the second set 6-4 before progressing to the third set tiebreak, where she bested Krems 10-4.
Classmate Monica Lin mirrored Liang’s performance in her own draw. Advancing to the final round in straight sets, she overcame unseeded Tina Jiang 5-7, 6-3, 10-6, to take first place. Jiang, who hails from Columbia, beat Harvard’s Amy He in a quarter-final upset before progressing onto the semis. There, she won 6-4, 6-2, against second seed Dorothy Tang before falling to Lin.
“I was very proud of the way our team competed this weekend, and it was definitely a step up from our performance at William and Mary,” Harvard coach Traci Green said. “I think we’re getting better every week, so it’s [nice] to see the improvement.”
Continuing the pattern of success, rookie June Lee—seeded first in her draw, like Liang and Lin—also advanced to the final, where she won 7-5, 6-2, against third seed Angeles de los Rios. Lee edged Bryant’s Marion Bouillin in a tight three-set quarter final, but besides that one set back managed to win all her other matches in straight sets.
“I was really, really excited,” Lee said. “It was just nice to represent Harvard and have a good tournament.”
The only remaining freshman player from Harvard—Danielle Mirda—managed to advance to the semi-finals of her flight before falling to first seed Gabriela Srodowski.
Apart from the freshmen, Junior Sylvia Li and captain Hannah Morrill competed in their respective single draws, as well as in the third overall double’s draw. In singles, Li lost to second seed Caroline Joyce 5-7, 4-6, after she advanced to the semifinal round, while Morrill reached the final but was unable to prevail over Texas-Arlington’s Gaida D’Ortona. Morrill fell in three thrilling sets, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, concluding in a tie-break which D’Ortona won 10-7.
The Crimson duo, however, won first place in doubles against Lolade Ogungbesan and Molly Wickman, 8-3. Such a performance, as well as a the performances of the rest of Harvard’s competitors, reveal a more experienced team leading up to next week’s ITA Regionals, hosted by the Crimson.