Greenwich High

Greenwich’s boy tennis team cruises to another win, advances to state semifinals

Greenwich’s No. 1 doubles team of Nick O’Brien, left and Cai Jain were straight set winners against Hall.

Another home match in the state tournament, another convincing win for Greenwich High School’s boys tennis team.

After topping Southington in Tuesday’s opening round of the CIAC Class LL Tournament, the second-seeded Cardinals posted a decisive 5-2 victory over seventh-seeded Hall Wednesday to advance to today’s semifinal-round.

The Cardinals will be the home team again today, as Westhill will visit Greenwich High School in a rematch of the FCIAC Tournament semifinals. Westhill has dealt the Cards their only two losses of the season. In Wednesday’s Class LL quarterfinals against Hall, Greenwich was victorious in three of the four singles matches and two of the three doubles matchups.

Juniors Cai Jain and Nick O’Brien were off the court pretty quickly after posting a 6-1, 6-1 win at first doubles for Greenwich against their Hall foes.

“The first set went pretty well,” Jain said. “We came into it strong and we played strong throughout the entire match.”

“We wanted to keep in mind what we were practicing for – our next game and our serves,” O’Brien said. “I thought it was a good match for us.”

Indeed, the Cardinals’ No. 1 duo is looking forward to their semifinal-round challenge.

“The first match against Westhill, we played strong,” Jain said. “It was our first loss in the regular season. It helped us improve and target some places where we need to improve and we’ve been working on it during the season.”

Greenwich has enjoyed the benefits that come with playing their postseason matches at home.

“It’s nice to have that spirit from your home crowd and we don’t have to travel,” O’Brien said.

“We practice on these courts every day during the season,” Jain said. “Just knowing how the ball bounces how to hit it well on these courts is an asset.”

Greenwich’s Dylan Atkinson won his match at first singles in straight sets against Hall.

At No. 1 singles, Greenwich junior Dylan Atkinson was a 6-2, 6-2 winner against freshman Nicholas Hermes.

“I thought I played one of the best overall matches I’ve played this year,” Atkinson said. “I was super solid from the baseline and came to the net when I needed to. He was a very good player and he hit a bunch of crazy good shots, but I feel like I played good defense and stayed calm the whole way.”

Atkinson is primed for his semifinal-round match at first singles.

“It’s going to be the biggest test of the season, so I’m looking forward to it,” Atkinson said. “He’s super consistent, he does not miss, so I need to keep my head in it the whole time. It’s going to be a physically tough, long match.”

Sophomore Harrison Wolfe gave Greenwich a 6-1, 6-4 triumph at third singles against Jeremy Eisen.

“I thought it went well,” Wolfe said. “It was nice to have two returning players attend the match and cheer us on and I thought I played well. I was able to dominate with my serve and forehand and run around the ball as much as possible.”

Harrison Wolfe was victorious for Greenwich at third singles in the Class LL quarterfinals against Hall.

In one of the most competitive matches of the afternoon, Hall junior Brandon Hermes edged Greenwich senior Yuta Kawamura, 4-6, 6-3, 10-2 at the No. 2 singles spot. Junior David Karetsky was in fine form for the Cardinals in posting a 6-1, 6-0 win over his Hall foe.

At second doubles, freshman Rohan Mittal and sophomore Tristan Sowter teamed up for a 6-1, 6-0 victory to boost the Cardinals.

“I couldn’t really serve, but Rohan was supportive to say the least,” Sowter said. “We got through it together through good teamwork. The scoreboard didn’t show how tough it was. It was a good result for us.”

Said Mittal: “My forehand and my volleys were working well and our coordination at the net was really good too. It took some time to get used to our playing style but at the end we played well and we had a good time.”

Rohan Mittal and Tristan Sowter teamed up for a victory at second doubles for GHS against Hall in the state quarterfinals.

Hall’s doubles win came at No. 3, where Alexander Hu/Pranov Binoj defeated Greenwich sophomore Yuta Takahashi and junior Elliot Staple, 6-2, 7-6 (6).

“They were definitely really good,” Staple said. “I had some shots I missed, I should have put more volleys in, but that happens.”

Greenwich’s Yuta Kawamura hits a return in his match at second singles against Hall.

Said Takahashi: “We just have to focus on staying consistent in our next match.”

“The season has been great, we only have one loss,” Staple added. “But that doesn’t mean that we can look at these playoff matches and go through them like it’s easy. We have to play our game every single time and go for the win every time.”

Greenwich defeated Hall to advance to the state semifinals.

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