NEW YORK—It was a dominating performance for the Columbia women’s tennis team as it took advantage of a fast start and registered a 6-1 win over defending conference co-champion Cornell Saturday at Dick Savitt Tennis Center. Columbia won the doubles point, then built leads in the first set of all six singles matches and maintained its lead to claim the win.
The match marked the first Ivy League competition of the year for both teams as Columbia improved to 9-5 overall and 1-0 in Ivy League play, while Cornell dropped to 6-8 overall and 0-1 in Ivy League competition.
“Today’s performance showed how ready our team is,” Columbia Head Coach Ilene Weintraub said. “I thought they worked hard all week. I could see how focused they were and it showed. Cornell is a good team, they won the Ivy League championship last year, so I was impressed with how we performed today.”
“We started really strong, very fast,” Weintraub said. “We had good energy from the players on the court and the players on the bench. It was a team effort all the way around. Jennifer Kerr went to three sets against her opponent today and in the fall she defeated her in two, so that shows how much she’s improved and how much better she’s competing from then. Christie Wan really stepped up today and beat a very good player, who I have a lot of respect for. She was able to play more aggressive and she was moving quick and had great body language.”
Columbia benefitted from a strong start in doubles. The Lions jumped out to leads in all three matches and took at 1-0 advantage with two victories. Sophomore Jennifer Kerr and junior Sarah Hu gave Columbia the edge with a 6-2 win over Cheyenne Lilianthal and Madison Stevens at No. 2 doubles. Junior Andrea Kevakian and sophomore Renee Ren won the last four games in securing a decisive 6-2 victory over Cornell’s Michelle Wang and Mariko Iinuma to claim the point.
Kerr gave Columbia a 2-0 lead when she claimed 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles over Cornell’s Iinuma. Senior Adi Milstein brushed off a mid-match injury and recovered to defeat Cornell’s Ana Elhorn 6-3, 6-3 at No. 6 singles. That gave Columbia a 3-0 advantage with several leads in the other matches.
Cornell’s Madison Stevens registered a 6-4, 6-4 win over first-year Sarah Rahman which cut Columbia’s lead to 3-1.
But Kevakian, a junior co-captain, clinched the victory for Columbia by registering a hard-fought 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 win over Cornell’s Ananya Dua. Kevakian looped a shot over Dua for a 40-30 advantage en route to her fifth point in the third set. For her sixth point, she hit a shot past Dua for a 40-30 advantage, then forced Dua into a shot that never made it over the net for the game-winner. The victory was Kevakian’s 20th of the year as she improved to 20-4.
Sophomore Ali Pollack gave Columbia its fifth win with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Cornell’s Cheyenne Lilienthal. First-year Christie Wan defeated Cornell’s Priyanka Shah 6-3, 5-7, 10-4 in a tiebreaker for Columbia’s sixth point.
“We are in a position this year where we have more than six players who are ready to contribute,” Weintraub said. “That’s a great position to be in. I’m trying to get as many players opportunities to play, especially the freshmen so they can grow and learn throughout their career.”
The result was a change for Columbia from last year’s 7-0 loss at Cornell.
Columbia is back in action on Saturday, April 6 when it hosts Penn for its second Ivy League match. First-serve is at 1 p.m. ET at Dick Savitt Tennis Center.
COLUMBIA 6, CORNELL 1 (Women’s Tennis)
Saturday, March 31, 2018, Dick Savitt Tennis Center, New York, N.Y.
No. 1: Christie Wan (Columbia) defeated Priyanka Shah (Cornell) 6-3, 5-7, 10-4.
No. 2: Jennifer Kerr (Columbia) defeated Mariko Iinuma (Cornell) 6-2, 6-3.
No. 3: Andrea Kevakian (Columbia) defeated Ananya Dua (Cornell) 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.
No. 4: Ali Pollack (Columbia) defeated Cheyenne Lilienthal (Cornell) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
No. 5: Madison Stevens (Cornell) defeated Sarah Rahman (Columbia) 6-4, 6-4.
No. 6: Adi Milstein (Columbia) defeated Ana Elhorn (Cornell) 6-3, 6-3.
Final Score: Columbia 6, Cornell 1; Time of Match: 2:48. Order of Finish: Doubles- 2, 3. Singles- 2, 6, 5, 3, 4, 1. Records: Columbia: 9-5, 1-0 Ivy League; Cornell 6-8, 0-1 Ivy League; Attendance: 117.