NEW YORK – The Columbia men’s tennis team had a huge win Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y., as the #52 nationally-ranked Lions rallied to defeat defending Ivy League champions Cornell, 4-3, extending the team’s win streak to 10 straight, and starting the conference schedule 1-0. Columbia won the doubles point, and held on to win three singles matches to clinch the victory, as senior Haig Schneiderman won the match for the team in an exciting three-set battle.
The match was a close one right from the start, as the Big Red held an early advantage in doubles. Cornell’s Jason Luu and Sam Fleck shut out Schneiderman and first-year Winston Lin in the No.2 spot, beating the Lions 8-0. But the battle had only just begun, as Columbia forced tiebreakers in both the Nos. 1 and 3 doubles spot, and were able to pull out the wins. At No.3 doubles, juniors Nathaniel Gery and John Yetimoglu beat Venkat Iyer and Evan McElwain in the tiebreaker, 9-8(5), while first-years Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur had a 9-8(4) win over Danny Riggs and Alex Sidney at No.1.
Columbia’s win in the doubles would prove to be the difference in the match, as the two teams split the remaining six singles matches. The Lions went up 2-0 quickly on the Big Red, as first-year Ashok Narayana had a quick win in the No.4 singles spot, beating Luu, 6-2, 6-3. But Cornell answered with back-to-back wins in the Nos.3 and 6 spots to tie the team match up at 2-2. Junior Nathaniel Gery fell at No.3 to Riggs, 7-5, 6-0, and John Yetimoglu was defeated by Quoc Nguyen at No.6, 6-3, 7-5.
Cornell had its first advantage of the day shortly after, as Alex Sidney beat Columbia first-year Bert Vancura in the No.5 singles spot, 6-2, 7-6(5), to put the Big Red up, 3-2. The two remaining matches at the top of the lineup were both close, and went to three sets. First-year Winston Lin kept the Lions in the team match with his win in the No.2 spot, as he beat Iyer, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, tying the score at 3-3.
The match came down to the No.1 spot, where senior co-captain Haig Schneiderman was taking on Cornell first-year Sam Fleck. After winning the first set in a tiebreaker, Schneiderman dropped the second set, and with the team match tied, it all came down to the third set. Schneiderman was not to be beat, as he won the third set with ease, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-1. With the win, the senior clinched Columbia’s 4-3 win, giving the Lions a 14-2 overall record, 1-0 in the Ivy League.
Up next for the Lions is a huge home weekend, as Columbia will host two of the strongest teams in the Ivy League. Saturday, April 7, the Lions will host #61 Dartmouth, and follow that up by hosting #20 Harvard, Sunday, April 8. First serves for both matches will be at 2 p.m.
Tennis Match Results
Columbia University vs Cornell
Mar 31, 2012 at Ithaca, N.Y.
#52 Columbia University 4, Cornell 3
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1*
1. #86 Haig Schneiderman (COL) def. Sam Fleck (COR) 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-1
2. #102 Winston Lin (COL) def. Venkat Iyer (COR) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
3. Danny Riggs (COR) def. Nathaniel Gery (COL) 7-5, 6-0
4. Ashok Narayana (COL) def. Jason Luu (COR) 6-2, 6-3
5. Alex Sidney (COR) def. Bert Vancura (COL) 6-2, 7-6 (7-5)
6. Quoc-Daniel Nguyen (COR) def. John Yetimoglu (COL) 6-3, 7-5
Order of finish: 4, 3, 6, 5, 2, 1*