NEW YORK – The 56th-ranked Columbia women’s tennis team took on Harvard in a rollercoaster of a match Friday, going up 3-0 early before the Crimson charged back to tie the match. Junior Bianca Sanon would put the Lions back on the upswing though, capturing a nail-biting three-set win to give the Lions a 4-3 team victory at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center.
The win is just the second in program history over Harvard. The Lions last topped the Crimson on April 10, 1993 by a score of 6-3.
The Lions got out to an early lead by securing the doubles point thanks to victories in the No. 1 and No. 2 matches. In the top spot, the 38th-ranked duo of Sanon and Kanika Vaidya earned an 8-5 win over Harvard’s Hideko Tachibana and Kristin Norton. Nicole Bartnik and Crystal Leung finished off the point with an 8-3 victory over Amanda Lin and Sylvia Li at No. 2.
Vaidya gave the Lions a 2-0 advantage, claiming the first singles match to end. Vaidya needed a tiebreaker to win the first set, 7-6(5), but produced an efficient 6-3 second set for the win in the No. 3 match against Norton.
No. 69 Bartnik put the Lions ahead by three with a victory in the top singles match. After breezing through the first set, 6-2, Bartnik found herself down 3-4 in the second set. She would rally though, claiming four of the next five games to defeat Tachibana.
The Crimson began its comeback in the No. 4 match, as Hai-Li Kong captured a two set victory, both in tiebreaker, over Leung. Harvard’s No. 5 and 6 players, Li and Lin, brought the team score to a 3-3 tie with three set wins in each of their respective matches.
The match then rested in the No. 2 bout between Sanon and Amy He. At the conclusion of the Lin match, Sanon and He were headed to a tiebreaker in the third set with the entire crowd at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center converging around their court. Sanon broke out to a 6-4 lead and was then able to close out the match when He double-faulted.
The Lions are now 2-0 in Ivy League action and welcome Dartmouth to the Savitt Center Saturday for a 2 p.m. match.
1) No. 38 Sanon/Vaidya (COL) def. Tachibana/Norton (HARV), 8-5
2) Bartnik/Leung (COL) def. Lin/Li (HARV), 8-3
3) Takenaga/Alecsiu vs. Morrill/Kong (HARV), 6-3, unfinished
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3(unfinished)
1) No. 69 Nicole Bartnik (COL) vs. Tachibana (HARV) - 6-2, 7-5
2) Bianca Sanon (COL) def. Amy He (HARV) – 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(4)
3) Kanika Vaidya (COL) vs. Kristin Norton (HARV) - 7-6 (5), 6-3
4) Hai-Li Kong (HARV) def. Crystal Leung (COL) - 7-6, 7-6
5) Sylvia Li (HARV) def. Tiana Takenaga (COL) - 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
6) Amanda Lin (HARV) def. Ioana Alecsiu (COL) vs. - 3-6, 7-6, 7-5
Order of finish: 3, 1, 4, 5, 6, 2