It did not look promising for the Naperville Central doubles team of Wesley Lo and Sid Swamy in their third-round match against Deerfield at the state tennis tournament on Thursday.
The 9-16 seeded Redhawks duo lost the first set 6-0 and then dropped the first game of the second set to Noah Rosenblatt and Harrison Crist of Deerfield, who were "playing flawless doubles tennis," Naperville Central coach Dan Brown said.
But the Redhawks bounced back, winning the second set 7-6 (6), and they captured the victory with a 6-0 win in the third set to advance to Friday's fourth round.
"It looked like we were headed out of the championship bracket," Brown said.
"This win was completely exhilarating," Lo said. "There was a complete shift in the momentum and in the mood. It was something I had rarely experienced before."
Lo thought the Redhawks were playing pretty well in that first set, but they just couldn't keep up with the Deerfield pair.
"They played textbook doubles," Lo said. "They were solid at the net and hitting crushing volleys."
In the second set Lo and Swamy, who had cruised through their first two matches, began figuring them out and Deerfield started making a few errors. But the Redhawks still trailed 5-4 and 6-5 before sending the game into the tiebreaker.
"That 10-minute break after the second set was important to us," Lo said. "It gave us the chance to realize the momentum had shifted and that all we had to do was go out there and beat them."
Lo, a junior, who is an outstanding doubles player, is competing at state with his third partner in three years, but this is the first time he's made it to the fourth round in the championship bracket.
"There was an adjustment period when Sid and I started playing together late in the year," Lo said. "Sid helped me with certain shots and the baseline game, and I tried to help him transition to doubles. And we have very good communication on the court."
Brown believes that Lo's doubles game at the net, and Swamy's experience as a singles player have combined to give opponents fits.
"Sid has a great variety of shots and he hits a flat ball that's tough for people to handle at the net," Brown said. "Wes has tremendous hands, a good lob and he puts spin on the ball. His ball dips and lands at opponents' feet."
The opposition is seeing two different balls and two different styles and it has been tough for them to adapt to that."
In Thursday's opening match, a 6-0, 6-0 win over Dixon, Lo picked up his 100th varsity victory.
"That is a tremendous achievement for a junior," Brown said. "He came in as an experienced doubles player and he's gotten better every year."