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updated: 5/23/2013 7:53 PM

St. Charles East's Koenen in command

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  • St. Charles East's Justin Bowman swats a return while playing against Eric Marbach of Waubonsie Valley in first-round state tournament singles action Thursday at Rolling Meadows.

      St. Charles East's Justin Bowman swats a return while playing against Eric Marbach of Waubonsie Valley in first-round state tournament singles action Thursday at Rolling Meadows.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent

Jasper Koenen made a convincing start to his boys tennis state tournament campaign on Thursday, starting fast and never looking back with three straight-set victories to book himself into Friday's fourth round of the championship bracket when play resumes Friday at host Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.

The St. Charles East junior capped a flawless day of tennis with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Amit Iyer (Neuqua Valley) to set up a 9 a.m. date with 5-8 seed Conrad Herron (24-1) of Chicago U-High, who late last month took fifth place at the prestigious Pitchford 32 here on these same courts in Arlington Heights.

"Jasper played very smart today, putting away points quickly and finishing off his opponents in order to get done and on the way home early in order to get himself ready for a big day on Friday," said Saints coach Robert Livermore.

"It was a good day," said Koernen. "The conditions were not the best, but I'd rather have the cooler temperatures and wind, instead of dealing with rain, and long delays. So it was great getting out there today and getting through the first day in really good shape."

"This has been a very successful season thus far -- for myself, and especially my teammate, Justin Bowman," said Koernen, who was awarded a well deserved 9-16 seed by the tournament committee.

Bowman (32-4), who opened the tournament with a 6-2, 6-0 loss to 5-8 Eric Marbach (Waubonsie Valley), fired back with two victories in the back-draw before he was eliminated by Steven Hill of DeLaSalle.

The Saints' crosstown rivals from St. Charles North had a mixed bag of results on the day.

The North Stars doubles team of Grant Spellman and Keith Hedges saw their season end after falling in three sets (4-6,6-4,4-6) to Warren, while Dominic Amalraj bounced back from a straight-set loss in his opener (Brendan Metzler) to win his next two in the consolation bracket.

"He (Metzler) was a very good player, who was also big hitter, with good strokes, so he was a difficult first-round opponent, and a little better than me," said the senior, who played here last season at doubles with Danny Oakes, going 3-2.

Marmion Academy freshman John King earned one victory in his brief first visit to the tournament after falling to 17-32 seed Sunny Singh of Champaign Centennial 7-5, 6-1. King ended up topping Carbondale's Cam McElheny 6-2, 6-1 in the consolation bracket before bowing out.

"John had a real good run in his first set against top player, and to get 6 games of a 17-32 seed in his first state match ever says a lot about him, and his game, which is only going to get better each time out," said Marmion coach John Tsang.

The Cadets doubles team of Jackson Rettig-John Graft also rebounded following an opening-round defeat to win their next two matches. The duo qualified for state as a team in 2011, then made it again last year at singles.

IMSA's doubles team of Ken Yun and Rajiv Patel O'Connor went 1-2.

Geneva's two doubles teams are no longer in play as each suffered two losses.

Ryan Doeckel-Nick Huang were unable to solve 9-16 Rockford Boylan (Adam Dahlberg-Nate Muldowney) then fell in straight sets to Lincoln-Way East, which ended their tournament hopes.

"The guys got kind of a slow start, but Boylan was real solid, so it was a disappointing start for them all in all," said Geneva assistant coach Kuanie Huang at Schaumburg on Thursday morning.

John Potts-Nick McCarty dropped a hard-fought three-setter to Vernon Hills (Ishmail Kadyrov-David Dobrik) who would later extend 3-4 Hinsdale Central (Eddie Grabill-Harold Martin), but responded with two straight victories in the back-draw, before eliminated by Fenwick in straight sets.

The tournament continues today with consolation play at 8 a.m., while championship bracket tennis begins at 9 a.m.

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