Boys tennis: Stevenson duo comes back against Jacobs' Chong brothers
There weren't many surprises on the first day of the Pitchford 32 boys tennis invitational hosted by Hersey.
But the Jacobs doubles team of Kendrick and Kerwin Chong sure came close to delivering a big one Friday afternoon.
The Golden Eagles duo was on the verge of sending Stevenson's Brian Weisberg/Matt Harvey crashing out of the front draw, only to see the Patriots (12-1) come out of nowhere to stun Jon Betts' team in a marathon three-setter.
The Patriots' pair advanced into Saturday's 8 a.m. quarterfinals against No. 2 seed Austin Klapman/Nick Marino of Glenbrook North, while the Chongs saw their record slip to 17-2.
Buffalo Grove will host doubles quarterfinal play before sending the winners over to tourney host Hersey in Arlington Heights for the semifinals and finals. The Huskies will also host the singles finals action -- weather permitting.
"It was tough to watch that second set when we were so close to closing (Stevenson) out," said Betts. "It's always tough to close out one of the top teams in the state, and we learned that today. But I'm still proud of the effort from Kendrick and Kerwin.
After dropping the first set 7-5, and later on the verge of a straight-set defeat as they chased a 5-0 deficit, the Patriots slowly began to chip away at their big deficit until drawing even at 5-5 and eventually pulling out a 7-5 win in the second set.
"That entire first set, and really, most of the second set, was one unforced error after another," said Harvey. "But Brian is always reminding me to take it just one game at a time, and today, that proved to be true."
Harvey/Weisberg won the last 13 games against the Jacobs tandem.
Stevenson's Ben Bush and Sam Komis are scheduled to start play Saturday at Rolling Meadows venue. They, too, would later earn a trip to Hersey should they be successful at No. 2 doubles.
Christian SanAndres and Zach Wood of Downers Grove South are slated to meet Highland Park's Brendan Lew/Jeremy Learner. The Giants pair held off Rohan Chinwalla/Samit Sambare of Hinsdale South in straight-set tiebreakers, just one week after falling to the same duo, in the same fashion, in the fifth-place match at the Jay Kramer Invite.
"What a difference a week makes," said Highland Park coach Steve Rudman. "(They) are still a very good team, but we had a little more in both of those tie-breakers today than they did."
"We know we can play with teams like Highland Park and all of the other top teams, and we showed we could come back from being down (5-2) in that first set, then stay within outselves after going back and forth in that second set," said Chinwalla. "But when you go down 0-4 in the tiebreaker, it's tough to climb your way out."
SanAndres/Wood team were nearly flawless in both of their matches on Friday, using a 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Naperville Central to stay alive in the front draw.
"We were all over the net, and Christian was serving really well, so we both felt good out there today in both matches and we're glad to be out of here early to get home and rest up for tomorrow," said Wood, who improved to 10-0 this spring when paired with SanAndres.
The top-seeded doubles team from Deerfield, Chris Casati/Niko Wasilewicz, had little trouble with its two opponents.
Likewise for Vuk Budic, who was awarded the top seed at No. 1 singles when Libertyville junior Stefano Tsorotiotis was a late scratch, forcing tournament officials to tweak the 32-man draw late Thursday.
With Budic now at the top of the bracket, Neuqua Valley senior, Brett Meyers (16-1) moved up to the No. 2 seed, and after a little bit of trouble in his first set with Jack Bernstein of Lyons Township, the Wildcats star advanced into the semifinals.
Perhaps the best of the semifinals at Hersey will be Rolling Meadows' Mack Galvin against Highland Park's Jacob Edelchik. Galvin (18-0) is eager to make his mark with a victory.
"Jacob is a player who hits everything back and keeps the ball in play, and although I've hit with him during the off-season, we haven't had the opportunity to play against each other," said Galvin of the Jay Kramer runner-up. "My goal was to get out of here as soon as I could, get a good stretch in, then go home and get a good meal and a lot of rest in advance of my quarterfinal with Jacob, which I am really looking forward to."
Edelchik and his teammates from Highland Park are in a four-way tie atop the leader board with New Trier, Hinsdale Central and Glenbrook North at 32 points.
With inclement weather forecasted, monitor any schedule changes on the Hersey High School website.