Jasper Koenen's route into championship bracket of the boys tennis state tournament was blocked by Eddie Grabill.
The Hinsdale Central junior ended the title hopes for Koenen (29-1) on Friday at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.
Koenen, a St. Charles East senior, next focuses on the consolation bracket, where he will make a run at a fifth-place trophy beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday at Buffalo Grove High School.
Grabill, who last season captured a doubles state crown with Harold Martin, looked the part of a would-be singles champ after roaring back from a 5-1 second-set deficit to collect a tiebreaker victory in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) triumph over Koenen.
"It wasn't me out there today," said Koenen, who nonetheless still looked to be his same old self, hitting his trademark flat return while using his big reach to return everything Grabill (35-2) could throw back at him in an effort to force a third set.
The Saints' four-time state qualifier and last year's fourth-place singles finisher slowly saw his opponent get into the lead. Grabill finally drew even and then, with a highlight-film passing shot, pushed the tiebreaker to 6-3 before Koenen went wide to end the match.
"I am sure Eddie would agree that the umpire didn't have the best of days, but that doesn't in any way take anything away from his win, and with the way he played, he was the better player today," said Koenen. "I wish him a lot of luck from here on out."
"Jasper is such a good player and hits an incredible flat ball, but going in, I wanted to have him earn every point, and not give him any free ones along the way," said Grabill. "And as we went along deeper into the match, I felt I could keep going as long as I needed in order to win and advance."
Grabill's win was one of four the Red Devils secured in the quarterfinals to build an insurmountable lead over Lake Forest (48-35) heading into the final day of competition.
Koenen is the last man standing from the Tri-Cities area after the doubles teams from St. Charles North, Batavia and Geneva each bowed out.
The North Stars' Aaron Amburgey and Grant Spellman were easy winners over Lockport on Friday morning at Prospect High School, but after a long wait for Naperville Central's Wesley Lo/Daniel Delgrosso, they dropped a 6-4, 6-1 match to end their season.
"Top 48 isn't too bad for those guys," said their proud coach, Sean Masoncup.
"We had several goals this season, but to reach our biggest goal (state) and to get into the second day is really a nice accomplishment for us," said Spellman.
Batavia's Adam Maris and Ryan Sterling fell in two sets to Downers Grove North in their final match to finish at 34-6.
"Our legs were really heavy today -- those four matches yesterday took a lot out of us," said Maris.
Ryan Doeckel and John Potts of Geneva lost in straight sets to 17-32 seed Barrington, 6-4, 6-3 to end their stay in the back draw.