An early season wake-up call appears to be just what the doctor ordered for Stevenson's Colin Harvey and Andrew Komarov, who have been nearly flawless since an opening-day defeat against New Trier in boys tennis doubles action this spring.
The No. 1 tandem from Stevenson dispatched a pair of opponents on the first day of the prestigious Tom Pitchford 32 hosted by Hersey and will now meet a quality duo from Edwardsville, Logan Ware/Jack Desse, in a quarterfinal match at Buffalo Grove when the second day of play begins at 8 a.m. Saturday.
"That loss to the Bickel brothers (of New Trier) gave us a real dose of reality," said Komarov, who along with his partner look to use a successful weekend as a springboard to a bigger catch -- a state title -- a month from now.
"Andrew and I knew we played poorly against New Trier," said Harvey, "but we also know it got us to refocus on our game, and a long season leading up the state tournament. So that loss will pay off in the end."
The Pats duo, now 9-1, needed little time to record straight-set victories over Metamora and then Naperville Central's Bill Zhang/Wesley Lo to quickly get out of yet another windy, cold and dreary day.
The front draw at doubles will see the field at No. 1 open at Buffalo Grove on Saturday morning, while the No. 2's play at Rolling Meadows. The winners all advance to join the No. 1 and No. 2 singles quarterfinalists at Hersey.
Consolation play continues throughout the day at various venues around the area as champions are crowned at all four flights.
There were no surprises at singles, with the top four seeds -- Martin Joyce (Hinsdale Central), Alex Galoustian (New Trier), Ben VanDixHorn (Libertyville) and Peter Tarwid (Lake Forest) -- easily advancing.
Two of the state's top No. 2 players, Christian San Andres of Downers Grove South and freshman Stefano Tsorotiotis of Libertyville, had an easy time at Palatine to make the quarterfinals.
One of the key second-round matches at No. 1 was between Tony Leto of Downers Grove South and Rolling Meadows sophomore Mack Galvin. Leto took a two-setter from the reigning MSL champ 6-4, 6-1 to earn a place opposite the defending state champ Joyce.
"It was tough out there with the cold, and all the wind," said Leto. "But it's been like that all spring, so you just end up getting used to it, and playing through it all." "Mack is a very good young player, so it was important to play smart and simple, and put points away when they were out there."
Galvin, whose only other loss of the season was to St. Charles East senior Jasper Koenen, praised his opponent for his ability to grind out at win and hit winning shots with pace and accuracy.
"I had seen Tony play before, but we never competed against each other. He does a great job hitting his passing shots," said Galvin, who next meets Justin Gillette of Naperville Central at Prospect.
There was one big surprise at Buffalo Grove when the team of Miles Blim-Jonah Philion (Oak Park-River Forest) stunned 3-4 seed Lake Forest (Scott Christian-Connor O'Kelly) in three sets (7-5, 1-6, 6-4) in the opening round. The OPRF duo went on to meet Barrington's Ishaan Jaglan/Scott Apland in a second-rounder Friday afternoon.
The Broncos' No. 2 team, Matt Mulligan and Vijay Tripuraneni, opened with a pair of straight-set victories at Rolling Meadows and next face 1-2 seed Bickel/Hanley of New Trier.