Girls tennis: Newly paired Rachapalli, Zhang win tourney title

By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/30/2017 7:05 PM

Before Saturday's Naperville North girls varsity tennis invitational, Kavya Rachapalli and Tiffany Zhang were singles players for the Huskies. And on Monday, as the team prepares for the DuPage Valley Conference meet next weekend, they will return to singles play.

However, on a sunny Saturday, they were paired at No. 1 doubles and it paid off big for them when the pair won the invitational title.

It was a big battle with Naperville Central's Cindy Liu and Natalie Atkins, but Rachapalli and Zhang prevailed 2-6, 6-2, 10-8.

"Our strategy was to stay aggressive and keep the lead. We were really confident," Zhang said.

The two definitely want to take the momentum gained Saturday into the DVC meet.

"It was a tight match. The wins boost our confidence for next week. Doubles is more of a net game, and we both want to incorporate that into singles play," Rachapalli said.

It was a big day for Naperville/Aurora schools as Naperville Central and Naperville North occupied four of the six available slots in the three doubles finals. Naperville Central and Metea Valley earned three spots in the finals of the singles competition held over at Naperville Central.

Lyons Township won the seven-team meet with 33 points. St. Ignatius and Naperville Central each finished with 29 points, but St. Ignatius was awarded second place for having more first-place finishes.

Naperville North was fourth with 28 and Metea was fifth at 22.

It was a wild tiebreaker in the No. 3 doubles finals. Naperville North's Sania Hussain and Nyah Woller-Li lost the first set to their Lyons Township opponents 4-6, but came back in the second set to win 6-3. That set the stage for the tiebreaker and when the dust had cleared. Hussain and Woller-Li won it 14-12 and the championship.

"We were down 5-0 in the tiebreaker. We fought back and scored eight straight points and then it was back and forth," Hussain said.

The two doubles teams had faced each other very recently.

"We lost to them two weeks ago also in a tiebreaker. This is big for us to come back in a rematch," Woller-Li said.

Also reaching the doubles finals and placing second were Naperville North's Chandani Bansal and Irene Zhang.

Naperville Central's Jacquelyne Qi finished second at No. 1 singles as did teammate Annie Kong at No. 3. Metea Valley's Natalia Kochokadon was runner-up at No. 2 singles.

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