Boys’ tennis made yet another hour long trip down I-91 on Wednesday afternoon, heading towards the familiar territory of West Hartford. Scheduled to start at 4:30 upon the completion of a girls’ match, a late arrival by the girls’ opponent pushed our start time back to 5:00. Furthermore, poor exterior conditions confined us to Kingswood’s four indoor courts. To save time, the coaches quickly agreed to start with singles and play doubles only in the event of a 3-3 tie.
Lines 1, 3, 4, and 6 went out first. Every first set had its positives: Carl went up a break on (defending national champion) UVA commit Matthew Lord (!), our Matthew battled deep with Appleton, Alfi was dialed in against Gould, and Gideon came out firing against Albanesi. Unfortunately, momentum swung; Matthew fell 6-4, and although Carl forced a tiebreak with Lord (wow!), the blue chipper was not to be denied. However, Alfi fired up the afterburners in his tiebreaker, taking seven straight points to level the match at two first sets apiece. Gideon, thoroughly unnerved by Albanesi’s much-improved play, battled back and had a chance to serve out the match, but dropped three games in a row to head to a third set.
By the time Matthew went down swinging and Scott replaced him on court, Alfi had gone down 2-5 in his second set. He got it back to 5-5, but was broken in the ensuing game to give Gould a chance to serve it out. Although the game got to 40-15, Alfi kept his composure, fighting back to break and send the match to another tiebreaker. He again seized the opportunity, going up 6-0 before closing it out 7-1. On court 1, Carl had hung with Lord for the entire second set, but came up just short – nevertheless, a huge confidence booster for our #1 to start the season. The match score was now 2–1 in Kingswood’s favor.
Gideon had another chance to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third, but dropped a close game. He recovered to break in the ensuing game, and played a relaxed and confident serve game to win the match 7-5! The three-set roller coaster win was reminiscent of his 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 victory in last year’s season opener, and it leveled the match score at 2-2.
Scott, gamely retrieving against Riemann, dropped a close first set and was unable to turn things around, leaving Deepak as the decider. Although Deepak ran through the first set 6-1 and was up a break, 3-2 in the second, Sonntag’s laser forehands started to find their mark, while his vicious slices got in our freshman’s head. Deepak dropped the second and went down a quick 1-4 in the third before holding and breaking – then, with a game point at 3-4, 40-30, Sonntag took the next two points and won the game after a double fault. One game later, Kingswood clinched a 4-2 win, making doubles unnecessary.
From first serve to last serve, the match spanned four hours, and we arrived back on campus at 10:15 PM. It was a fun atmosphere, high school athletics at its finest, and I only wish we could have played some 9 PM doubles to finish it off. We hope to get another crack at these guys in the tournament, but now turn our attention to Taft on Saturday.
Thanks to all who followed on Twitter (@deerfieldtennis) – I will continue to update regularly each match.
Kingswood 4, Deerfield 2
Matthew Lord (KO) d. Carl Grant (D) 7-6 (4), 6-4
Luke Riemann (KO) d. Scott Danforth (D) 7-5, 6-3
William Appleton (KO) d. Matthew Wuyan (D) 6-4, 6-1
Alfi Auersperg (D) d. Brian Gould (KO) 7-6 (0), 7-6 (1)
Adam Sonntag (KO) d. Deepak Pathapati 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
Gideon Yektai (D) d. Ryan Albanesi (KO) 6-0, 5-7, 7-5