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6A BOYS TENNIS: Bentonville doubles team rallies for state tournament win

by Steve Andrews | October 12, 2021 at 2:03 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- The top two boys doubles seeds qualified for the semifinals Monday in the Class 6A boys state tennis tournament held at Memorial Park, while upsets eliminated three of the top four singles players.

Little Rock Central's Alex Wells and Stefan Tudoreanu, the top doubles seed, bounced back from a sluggish start to defeat Noah Furuseth and Aaron Day of Rogers Heritage 6-4, 6-2.

"We started out slow, because it was our first match after getting a bye in the first round," Tudoreanu said. "The other team already had a match under their belts, so they were ready to play. And they had a pretty big crowd out there cheering for them, so they were in my head a little bit to start out."

The senior duo, who have yet to lose a match this season, found themselves down 3-2 in the first set, before they reeled off 11 straight points to take command.

"It took us a little time to get used to their style of play," Wells said. "The second set, we came out much stronger. They were playing at a lot slower pace and that can take some time to adjust to, but we eventually settled down and were able to play our game."

Central will now face Bentonville's Ricky Iselin and Anish Guntreddi, who defeated 6A-West No. 2-seed Adam Ledzinski and Thompson Maner of Fayetteville 6-2, 7-5.

"We just tried to come out with a lot of energy and get the momentum on our side first," Iselin said. "I knew if we came out strong, then everything else would take care of itself. We started playing as a team, continuing to hit the ball cross-court, which kept them on the run."

Boyce Read and Santiago Aguirre of Bentonville, the No. 1 seed from the 6A-West, lost the first set before rebounding to get past Fayetteville's Michael Mathias and David Zhu, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

"We had beaten them twice already this season, so I think we started feeling the pressure and stopped being aggressive," Aguirre said.

Read credited Tigers Coach Richie Roberts with keeping them calm and focused in the early going, which helped turn the match around in the second set.

"He really helped getting us back in the match, as well as our other teammates who were really cheering us on," he said. "After we won the second set, I felt we had the momentum going into the third set."

Read and Aguirre advanced to meet Bentonville West's team of Luke Ralston and Sankalp Pandey, who upset the 6A-Central's No. 2 seed, Fort Smith Northside's Trey Rajsombath and Kevin Praphan, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, in a match that lasted 2 hours, 42 minutes.

Springdale Har-Ber sophomore Carter Swope was the lone top seed to advance on the singles side, as the 6A-West No. 1-seed had to hold off a strong battle from Fayetteville's Spencer Holloway 6-1, 6-4.

"I came out in the first set playing pretty well, but in the second set he started to put things together," said Swope, who is undefeated this season. "It was just back-and-forth, breaking each other, but eventually I held my serve and that was the big thing. The first match is always the toughest one, so it feels good to get that one under the belt. Now I'm just looking forward to the semifinals."

Swope will now face Bentonville West's Graham Hardin, who upset 6A-Central No. 2-seed Spartagus Wolfe of Little Rock Catholic 6-1, 6-0.

Fayetteville sophomore Jacob Nordin pulled off what may have been the upset of the day, knocking off 6A-Central No. 1-seed Isaiah Bordador 6-2, 6-3.

Nordin lost in last year's quarterfinal, so he said he was determined to make it through this year.

"He broke my serve in the very first game, so that is never a good sign to start a match," Nordin said with a chuckle. "But I was able to come right back and break his serve, so that started giving me the confidence that I could win. I just started playing really aggressive, making him change his game. And that seemed to work and get him tired."

Nordin will now take on Fort Smith Southside's Robinson Wright, who entered the tournament as the sixth-seed, but upset 6A-West No. 2 seed, Emiliano Aguirre of Bentonville 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The semifinals for the tournament begin today at 10:30 a.m., followed by the championship matches beginning at 1 p.m.

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At A Glance

CLASS 6A STATE BOYS TENNIS TOURNAMENT

At Memorial Park, Bentonville

Monday’s Matches

Singles

First Round (1 p.m.)

C4 Caden Highfill, LR Central vs. W5 Spencer Holloway, Fayetteville

W3 Graham Hardin, West vs. C6 Trey Lemieux, Conway

W4 Jacob Nordin, Fayetteville vs. C5 Sam Carlisle, FS Northside

C3 Yash Gokarakonda, LR Central vs. W6 Robinson Wright, FS Southside

Quarterfinals (5 p.m.)

W1 Carter Swope, Springdale Har-Ber vs. Highfill-Holloway winner

C2 Spartagus Wolfe, LR Catholic vs. Hardin-Lemieux winner

C1 Isaiah Bordador, LR Catholic vs. Nordin-Carlisle winner

W2 Emiliano Aguirre, Bentonville vs. Gokarakonda-Wright winner

Doubles

First Round (11 a.m.)

W5 Michael Mathias-David Zhu, Fayetteville vs. C4 Avery Horton-DeAndre Ross, LR Centzral

C6 Cooper Teague-Michael Mainord, Conway vs. W3 Luke Ralston-Sankalp Pandey, West

C5 Rhodes Roberts-Tommy Nolan, LR Catholic vs. W4 Noah Furuseth-Aaron Day, Heritage

W6 Ricky Iselin-Anish Guntreddi, Bentonville vs. C3 Brody Wilson-Tanner New, Conway

Quarterfinals (3 p.m.)

W1 Boyce Read-Santiago Aguirre, Bentonville vs. Mathias-Zhu/Horton-Ross winner

C2 Trey Rajsombath-Kevin Praphan, FS Northside vs. Teague-Mainord/Ralston-Pandey winner

C1 Stefan Tudoreanu-Alex Wells. LR Central vs. Roberts-Nolan/Furuseth-Day winner

W2 Adam Ledzinski-Thompson Maner, Fayetteville vs. Iselin-Guntreddi/Wilson-New winner

Today’s Matches

Semifinals (10 a.m.)

Singles

Doubles

All finals will be played at 1 p.m.

Print Headline: Upsets the rule in singles; top doubles teams advance

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