TENNIS: Chelsea King ’23 topples the nation’s top-ranked singles player

Chelsea King ’23 defeated the nation’s top-ranked singles player as Yale’s female tennis team beat Princeton and lost to Penn.

Grayson Lambert

22:08, 13 April 2022

Contributing reporter

This week, both Yales tennis team continued conference games with matches against Princeton on Saturday and Penn on Sunday. Chelsea King ’23 achieved a decisive victory over the nation’s top-ranked singles player, Daria Frayman, against Princeton on Saturday.

The women’s tennis team (11–8, 2–1 Ivy) defeated Princeton (7–10, 2–1) in a close 4–3 victory Saturday in Elm City. On Sunday, the squad suffered a 1-4 loss to Penn (12-8, 2-1) at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.

Kung led the women in singles, followed by Caroline Dunleavy ’22, Mirabelle Brettkelly ’25, Jessie Gong ’22, Rhea Shrivastava ’23 and Vivian Cheng ’23. Kung and Gong led the team in doubles, ahead of Kathy Wang ’22 with Dunleavy and Brettkelly with Shrivastava.

King contributed to the Bulldogs’ significant victory over the Tigers and on Saturday defeated the nation’s then top-ranked singles player, Daria Frayman. King’s victory in two sets of 6–2, 7–5 toppled Frayman, who has been number 1 in the nation since March 23rd.

This win dragged Frayman down to No. 3 and put King’s name on the list of the nation’s top 125 singles players, where she now sits as No. 71. King is the only member of the Yales women’s team to have beaten the 125 best singles players this time around. season. However, King came short on the country’s 80 best doubles team along with his partner Gong at No. 59 on March 9th.

On Sunday, Frayman took on the Browns (6–12, 0–3) Britany Lau, winning 6–3 and 6–2, the same result as King vs. Lau the previous weekend.

Overall, King’s singles record is now 16-5, compared to Frayman’s record of 20-7.

Excellent matches for the Bulldogs this weekend also included Gong’s victory in three sets (4-6, 6-1, 7-6) at No. 4 singles against Princeton and Cheng’s (6-3, 6-2) victory over Penn at No. 6 singles.

Yale is now ranked No. 59 on the national rankings. Princeton still leads the Ivy League as No. 50, followed by No. 63 Columbia and No. 72 Harvard.

“We learned over the weekend that we can compete with any team and that every Ivy season match is very competitive,” said women’s head coach Rachel Kahan.

The men’s tennis team (9–9, 1–2) took to the road this weekend to challenge Princeton and Penn. On Saturday, the Bulldogs suffered a 2-5 loss to the Tigers (16–6, 2–1) before falling 2–5 to the Quakers on Sunday (16–4, 3–0).

Michael Sun ’23 led the men in singles, followed by Theo Dean ’24, Aidan Reilly ’25 and Cody Lin ’22. On Saturday, Lin was followed by Walker Oberg ’25 and Renaud Lefevre ’24, and on Sunday by Lefevre and Luke Neal ’25. Lefevre and Lin led the team in doubles, ahead of Reilly with Dean and Sun with Neal.

Lin secured a close two-set (7-6, 7-6) victory at No. 4 against the Tigers. Although the team ultimately suffered their first Ivy loss on Saturday, they successfully took the double point and won on the second and third lines.

“We learned we have a mentally tough team that is improving fast,” said men’s head coach Chris Drake. “We’re creating a good foundation for our program, but we also have a lot of hard work to do if we want to catch and pass those teams that are a little ahead of us right now with their level.”

Neal’s highlight of the weekend was his 6-4 double win with Sun. “It was the first time in a while to play doubles and I had a great time with Mike,” Neal said. Sun is currently ranked No. 114 nationally in singles.

Yale’s men’s team did not reach the cut of the top 75 in nationwide rankings this week. Nr. 13 Harvard leads the Ivy League, followed by No. 25 Columbia, No. 39 Princeton, No. 42 Penn and No. 59 Cornell.

“As we approach the final two weekends of conference games, I look forward to meeting more tough, veteran opponents and gaining experience through fighting games against these teams before the summer,” said freshman Reilly.

This weekend, the men will host Cornell (14–6, 1–1) on Saturday and Columbia (11–6, 1–1) on Sunday in Cullman-Heyman. The women will take to the road to host the Big Red (6–9, 2–1) in Ithaca on Saturday and the Lions (10–10, 0–3) in New York City on Sunday.

After losing both double points this weekend, the women’s team will focus on doubles as well as hoping to get playing time outdoors ahead of their next matches. According to Gong, the women’s team captain, the team will try to improve self-confidence at the net and start crawling more. Gong is most excited to “finish [her] tennis career competes for the Bulldogs with [her] best friends.”

After recovering from their tough weekend, the men’s team will return to work next week.

“The Ivy League is probably stronger than it has ever been in terms of depth and level at the top. It’s great for our players to face this level of competition every weekend, ”said Drake.

In preparation for their next match, the men’s team will watch films from the Princeton and Penn matches and target aspects of each player’s game that can be improved up to this weekend’s matches against two of the top teams in the league.

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