Boys tennis: Hersey's Sheldon on cruise control during first day at state
Hersey's Max Sheldon cruised into Saturday's Class 2A state boys tennis quarterfinals after a sensational first day of play, including a 6-2, 7-5 victory over 9-16 seed Ansh Shah of Hinsdale Central Thursday afternoon on his home courts in Arlington Heights.
Next up for the Huskies's sophomore is 3-4 seed Max Bengtsson from New Trier (17-0) at host Hersey at 9 a.m. Friday.
"Max was laser-focused today, and it showed in how he moved his feet, hit clean shots all throughout his three matches, and how his mental strength allowed him to play through some windy and warm conditions in order to advance," said Hersey head coach Andy Walton.
While Sheldon (33-2) was sending off three opponents on Thursday, his teammates at No. 1 doubles, Kevin Mi-Jace Coffaro (26-7), were eliminated while the Huskies' No. 2 team of Dan Gankov-Kacper Pasielek (16-5) remained alive, albeit in the consolation bracket after going 2-1 on the day.
"The best thing about Dan-Kacper was their 7-5, 6-4 win over the same Highland Park (Max Baum-Ryan Lederer) team that beat them last weekend in the sectional final," said Walton.
Mid-Suburban League rivals Conant and Fremd would enjoy several quality results, while MSL champion Barrington saw the roof cave in on it.
The MSL runners-up from Conant watched Vera Iyer (19-10) and the Andrew Milas-Kaahan Motwani doubles team eliminated, but midway through the day Roberto Macher-Rameen Marzban stunned the No. 1 team from Stevenson (Payton Adkisson-Daniel Tulchinsky, 25-6) 6-4, 6-4 in second round play.
"We knew Stevenson would be a very tough team to play, but we were at out best also and with a high percentage of our first serves going plus Roberto and I playing real strong at the net, we were able to take the play away from them," said Marzban, who had been the Cougars' No. 2 man at singles until recently.
"It was a really good win for us, and both Rameen and I felt we were capable of making some noise this weekend, so this is something we can be proud of and build from," added Macher.
The Cougars' duo lost in the next round to the 5-8 seed from Hinsdale Central (Mujtaba Ali-Khan-Rayan Nehme) but will continue play in the consolation bracket Friday morning at Wheeling.
All quarterfinals will begin at 9 a.m., weather permitting, while consolation play starts one hour earlier.
Fremd dealt league rival Barington a couple of heartbreaking losses, the first coming when sophomore Casey Hishinuma (22-11) ended Bradley Yu's tournament in the second round of consolation in straight sets and the next coming when Ryan Zheng-Arjun Srivasta (25-7) defeated the Broncos' top team of Matt D'Amore-Dylan Er (29-8) in the second round of the front draw.
"Casey said he was feeling really confident before his match with (Yu) and that his plan of going longer into the points really took a toll on Bradley," said Fremd coach Matt Duncan. "Ryan-Arjun played their best match of the season, putting so much pressure on Barrington when they stayed up at the net with several great lobs for winners."
Both Hishinuma and the Vikings' doubles team remain alive in the consolation bracket as does Palatine sophomore Jackson Spurck, now 17-12 after going 2-1 Thursday.
The Er-D'Amore team, and Barrington's No. 2 team of Pranav Gadiraju-Aryan Sharma (13-4) are still alive but in the consolation bracket at Wheeling, while sophomore Ammar Wazir (30-8) remains in play after his 2-1 day Thursday.
Maine West sophomore Kamil Kozerski (28-4) enjoyed his first state appearance by going 2-1 with wins over Conor Bajuk of St. Charles North and John Wallace of Crystal Lake Central.
Kozerski lost to 9-16 seed Eric Perkowski of Stevenson (27-2) in straight sets.
In the team race Hinsdale Central, with three of its four teams still in the championship bracket, is tied with New Trier with 22 points each, with Stevenson third at 21 points.
Barrington, Conant and Hersey are all at 8 points, good for 11th place overall.