Girls tennis: Neuqua Valley's Savu makes most of added match
Neuqua Valley sophomore Alex Savu woke up Thursday morning ready to play two matches at the Class 2A girls tennis tournament.
She didn't mind having to play three singles matches instead, considering the way they turned out.
When the IHSA opted to condense the state tournament a little bit Thursday due to inclement weather in Saturday's forecast, that meant an extra match for athletes in the championship bracket on Day 1 of the three-day tournament.
For Savu it meant advancing to the state quarterfinals a day early.
"I think at first I was a little bit surprised, but I want to play three matches just because I'd still be in the tournament," Savu said with a laugh.
Savu scored easy victories in her first two matches at Schaumburg High School, then outdueled talented Glenbard West freshman Shanelle Lopez 6-3, 6-2.
"It was really hard. She's a really good player, and especially after playing already two matches I was kind of tired a little bit, but I had to keep going in order to stay in the main draw," Savu said.
The quarterfinals will be at Buffalo Grove High School, with Class 1A starting at 9 a.m. and Class 2A at noon.
The Lopez family won five matches, with junior Sienna Lopez -- like Savu a 5-8 seed -- joining Savu in the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-0 win vs. Maine South's Jennifer Ptak in the third round. Sienna Lopez has a tough match lined up Friday, with 3-4 seed Tyra Richardson of St. Ignatius.
"She's a great player, Tyra Richardson, but I think if Sienna plays her game she can win that match," Glenbard West coach Kevin Graham said. "It's just about her playing with confidence and playing her best tennis when it matters most, right? And I think she can. I think she dropped 2 or 3 games total today. She's playing good tennis."
Hinsdale Central's Kathryn Treiber and Olivia Oosterbaan both advanced in singles play, with Oosterbaan defeating Wheaton North's Madeline Fidel 6-1, 6-1.
Glenbard West finished Thursday's first day of the Class 2A girls tennis tournament in third place with 14 points, with Hinsdale Central well ahead in first place with 22 points.
"That's something real special, to be in the top three," Glenbard West coach Kevin Graham said. "Anywhere in the top 10, they're all really great teams. You look around at all of these matches and at these good players. There's no bad players left, that's for sure."
Neuqua Valley is in a three-way tie for ninth place with 8 points.
Wheaton Warrenville South 5-8 seeds Emily Orlove and Samantha Choi advanced to the Class 2A doubles quarterfinals, handing Hinsdale Central its only defeat of the day, 6-2, 6-2 over Shalini Sahgal and Layo Adelakun.
In Class 1A Timothy Christian's Abygale Ahn and Cassandra Lee played up to their No. 1 seed, making it to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against St. Francis 9-16 seeds Marnie Kopec and Jane Price in the third round. Ahn and Lee placed third at state in 2017.
Also going on to the quarterfinals are Wheaton Academy 9-16 seeds Olivia Hamm and Ellie Howland. They scored a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 third-round victory over Maddy Jacobs and Sydney Schott of Sterling Newman Catholic.