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updated: 5/24/2014 7:39 PM

Naperville Central cruises through sectional

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By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent

Naperville Central dominated the Waubonsie Valley sectional, earning its first sectional plaque since 2011.

Naperville Central finished with 29 points, followed by Marmion with 16 and Metea Valley with 13.

This year's state tournament starts Thursday at several sites in the Northwest Suburbs.

"Based on the way we played, I feel good about our chances as a team at state," said Redhawks coach Dan Brown.

Naperville Central won sectional titles at both singles and doubles with another doubles pair winning third place. The top four sectional finishers in both singles and doubles qualify for state.

"Winning both singles and doubles hasn't happened in a long time, and Bill Zhang is our first singles champ since 2000," Brown said. "That means a lot."

Two of the four singles qualifiers were freshmen, including singles champ Zhang, who defeated Marmion's John King 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

"I think I'm playing pretty well. I'm peaking and I feel confident," Zhang said.

Like many young players entering high school, Zhang came to Naperville Central with plenty of club experience.

"There's more competition. It's from the whole state and it's a learning experience," he said of club play.

Seniors Daniel Delgrosso and Wesley Lo both went to state last season in doubles with now-graduated partners. The two were recently paired and fought off Batavia's Ryan Sterling and Adam Maris in the final 6-4, 6-7(2) and 6-0.

"Batavia had different shots and we had to adjust," Lo said. "We were frustrated in the second set and had to reset for the third."

Seniors Justin Gillette and Kevin Wang also return to state for Naperville Central. Gillette was part of a doubles team, and Wang competed in singles in 2013. Saturday's final was their sixth match together.

They defeated Ken Yun and Rajiv Patel-O'Connor of IMSA, 6-1, 6-1.

"We just need to keep up the level of consistency of our play and the level of play itself," Wang said.

Heading to state for Metea Valley in singles is junior Kyle Chin, who beat Suveer Kothuri of Waubonsie, 6-4, 6-0 in the third-place final.

"It's been a long road," Chin said of his effort to make state for the first time. "I feel all right, better than I did at the beginning of the season. I had a pulled tendon in the bottom of my foot."

Waubonsie coach Phil Galow praised Kothuri, a freshman, for battling back Saturday after some tough competition Friday.

"Physically, it takes its toll," Galow said.

Marmion coach John Tsang said he was pleased with how King, making his second trip to state, has progressed from his freshman season.

"As a freshman, tennis was just one of his three sports. After last season he is dedicated 100 percent to tennis. You see that in great results. He's learned to land his points and his power has improved tremendously," Tsang said.

Batavia's Sterling and Maris are making their first trip to state. They have been competing together the entire season and stand at 32-4.

"They played phenomenal and especially in the semifinals, they did a great of addressing their game to what the other team was giving," said Bulldogs coach Brad Nelson.

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