Naperville Central's Sid Swamy endured a lot of pain and disappointment on his way to a DuPage Valley Conference singles championship, but when his time came Saturday it was quite satisfying.
Swamy, who missed his junior year of tennis due to a knee injury, won the second-singles title 6-0, 6-0 to help the Redhawks to their fourth straight DVC crown. They defeated archrival Naperville North in five of the seven conference tournament finals matches.
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"Today I wanted to prove myself," said Swamy, who played first singles his first two years. "I had surgery last October, went through therapy three times a week and didn't play tennis until March, so this conference championship means a lot to me."
In the finals Swamy defeated Naperville North's Benny Li, less than a week after the two split sets in a dual meet.
"I just kept my focus and took it point by point," Swamy said. "I made sure my shots made him move. I knew he would push against me, so I took every ball on the rise and made the points short."
"This was a great win for Sid because he hasn't played competitive tennis for a year and a half," said Naperville Central coach Dan Brown. "You could see that he is still hurt."
Swamy admits that his mobility is still not 100 percent and for that reason he will be paired with Wesley Lo at doubles at next week's sectional.
"Wes is really good at the net. He poaches and gets everything over," Swamy said. "My groundstrokes are very good. So on the doubles court I'll stay back, handle the returns and let Wes take care of the net. That's what makes us a good combination."
Lo and partner Justin Gillette, both juniors, also won a conference championship Saturday when they defeated Naperville North's Steven Nguyen and Rohit Rastogi 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. All three doubles matches went three sets.
"Justin and Wes really stepped up at the end of the match against a great Naperville North team," Brown said. "They finished the conference season with a 10-0 record."
First singles Danny Albert, Lo's partner at state last year, won a grueling three-hour, 20-minute semifinal with Glenbard East's Matt Krzyaniak to advance to the championship round where he defeated Terrance Chen 6-4, 6-2.
"Our team's conference title feels great," Brown said, "because this season was the worst weather we've ever had and we weren't able to practice very much. We had to work everything out on match day. It's great for Danny and Sid because they've been members of conference championship teams all four years. And now as seniors they've won their first DVC individual titles at first and second singles."
The Redhawks, who went into the tournament 2 points ahead of the Huskies, finished the season with 64 points to Naperville North's 59. Wheaton Warrenville South was third with 41, followed by Wheaton North, 27, Glenbard North, 24.5 and Glenbard East, 21.
"We knew coming in that it would be probably be just like a dual meet for the finals between the two Naperville schools," said Huskies coach Heather Henricksen. "And we played each other in every finals match. I'm proud of our team and how everyone competed. We just have to get over that one hump of getting the victory. All the doubles teams going three sets showed that they're fighters."