DENVER — Fairview senior Tom Melville's confidence has been sky high all season long but it suffered a potentially devastating blow when he lost the first set of his Class 5A No. 1 singles state semifinal match on Friday.
Getting back to basics and refocusing, however, Melville roared back to even things up against Arapahoe junior Tyler Landen. Once he had proven to himself the depth of his own resilience, Melville's confidence returned, and in a big way. Up 3-2 in the third set, Melville hit a between-the-legs shot for a winner that reignited his killer instinct and spurred the Knights senior to a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
The come-from-behind win on Gates Tennis Center's featured court earned Melville a berth in Saturday morning's No. 1 singles finals, and set the stage for his first shot a state championship
"It was the tweener," Melville said. "When I hit that tweener and he missed the volley, I just felt confident that I could make any shot. It relaxed me and I just went back out there and did my thing. I started slow, came back and felt the momentum. It was a roller coaster ride."
Melville, who also turned 18 years old on Friday, placed fourth at No. 1 singles last season and has two singles medals sitting at home. But he has never reached a state championship match and will be playing to win Fairview its 13th all-time individual state title. At 9 a.m. on Saturday, he'll face Chatfield's Christian Holmes, who will be attempting to win Chatfield's first-ever singles championship.
Adding a pair of local rivalry victories to Melville's comeback, the Knights advanced all three singles players to Saturday's championship matches. At No. 2 singles, Fairview's Ethan Schacht defeated Broomfield's Giovanni Intermesoli, 6-3, 6-2, in the semifinals. The Knight's third singles player, Andy Wu, got past cross-town rival Henry Hawk from Boulder, 6-3, 6-0, in his semifinal match.
"I'm where I wanted to be, my team is in the other two singles finals and we've won playbacks for doubles so we're all looking good," Melville said. "We're having a good time and we'll just try to keep it going."
The Knights, who have finished runners-up six years in a row, entered Day 2 with a two-point lead on a Cherry Creek program that has edged them for the team title in each of those past six seasons. Despite losing semifinal matches at all four doubles spots, the Knights ended the second day with 61 points and maintained a one-point lead on Cherry Creek to open finals and third-place matches on Saturday.
All four Knights doubles pairs rebounded from their semifinals losses and will play for third place on Saturday.
"Our singles have led our team all year and our doubles still have a lot of tennis left," Knights head coach Chad Tsuda said. "It speaks to the depth of our program (that all seven ladder spots will play Saturday). And we've played against a lot of teams from our area here at state, and that speaks to the depth of our conference. We're still in it and tomorrow is going to be fun."
Broomfield and Boulder finished Day 2 in a tie for fourth place in the team scoring.
Class 5A boys tennis state championships
At Gates Tennis Center in Denver
Team scores — Fairview 61, Cherry Creek 60, Regis Jesuit 59, Broomfield 20, Boulder 20, Chatfield 15, Ponderosa 12, Denver East 10, Mountain Range 9, Fossil Ridge 6, Grand Junction 4, Mountain Vista 4, Arapahoe 3, Rocky Mountain 3, Rock Canyon 2, Heritage 2, Ralston Valley 1, Fruita Monument 1, Grandview 1, Poudre 1.
No. 1 singles — Tom Melville, Fairview, def. Tyler Landen, Arapahoe, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2; Ryan Neale, Ponderosa, def. Christian Holmes, Chatfield, 6-1, 6-2.
No. 2 singles — Ethan Schacht, Fairview, def. Giovanni Intermesoli, Broomfield, 6-3, 6-2; Kosta Garger, Regis Jesuit, def. Ben Murray, Cherry Creek, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
No. 3 singles — Andy Wu, Fairview, def. Henry Hawk, Boulder, 6-3, 6-0; George Cavo, Cherry Creek, def. Phillip Albright, Regis Jesuit, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
No. 1 doubles — Sam Angell/Drew Hill, Cherry Creek, def. Beck Chrisbens/Luke Silverman, Fairview, 6-2, 7-5; Will Dennen/Patrick Seby, Regis Jesuit, def. Will Enterline/Hans Callanan, Boulder, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 2 doubles — Stone Heyman/Nick Eidler, Cherry Creek, def. Aaron Nguyen/Hall Humphrey, Fairview, 6-0, 6-1; Evan Nuss/Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz, Regis Jesuit, def. Cameron Lupo/Charlie Vanderberg, Broomfield, 6-2, 6-4.
No. 3 doubles — Matthew McCarthy/Gabe Caldwell-Nepveux, Regis Jesuit, def. Jack Abbey/Tyler Liberati, Denver East, 6-4, 6-4; Zach Smith/Nick Svichar, Cherry Creek, def. Ryan Grayson/Kian Grimison, Fairview, 6-3, 6-0.
No. 4 doubles — Tyler Schoen/Devin Brownstein, Cherry Creek, def. Reid Shaffer/Adam Heilbronner, Fairview, 6-2, 6-2; Matthew Mahoney/James O'Connor, Regis Jesuit, def. George Weaver/Quentin Yamasaki, Denver East, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
First-round consolation matches
No. 1 singles — Valenzuela, Mountain Range, def. Stathakis, Castle View, 6-4, 7-6; Alexander, Heritage, def. Schilling, Regis Jesuit, 6-5, 6-2.
No. 2 singles — Weckerly, Grand Junction, def. Green, Arapahoe, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4; Cox, Ponderosa, def. Cobb, Arvada West, 6-1, 6-3.
No. 3 singles — Aubert, Grand Junction, def. Darre, Denver East, 6-3, 6-3; Lewis, Broomfield, def. Jones, Heritage, 6-5, 6-1.
No. 1 doubles — Schneider/Offerman, Fossil Ridge, def. Barto Sisneros, Pine Creek, 6-1, 6-4; Bean/Hipp, Mountain Vista, def. Eck/Gordon, Ralston Valley, 6-4, 6-3.
No. 2 doubles — Yeagley/Carlson, Chatfield, def. Kelly/Easton, Mountain Vista, 7-6, 6-4; Li/Sikorski, Fossil Ridge, def. Hubbard/Wilson, Poudre, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 3 doubles — Kirkby/Gormley, Fossil Ridge, def. Axe/Galyard, Rocky Mountain, 6-4, 6-2; Roberts/Quirk, Rock Canyon, def. Lobb/Wood, Arapahoe, 6-0, 4-6, 6-0.
No. 4 doubles — Joseph/Strobel, Broomfield, def. Coggins/Bowers, Chatfield, 6-3, 6-1; Lim/Caldwell, Boulder, def. May/Pomrenke, Fruita Monument, 6-1, 6-0.
Consolation semifinal matches
No. 1 singles — Valenzuela, Mountain Range, def. Landen, Arapahoe, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4; Neale, Ponderosa, def. Alexander, Heritage, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
No. 2 singles — Intermesoli, Broomfield, def. Weckerly, Grand Junction, 6-2, 7-5; Murray, Cherry Creek, def. Cox, Ponderosa, 6-3, 6-2.
No. 3 singles — Hawk, Boulder, def. Aubert, Grand Junction, 6-3, 6-2; Albright, Regis Jesuit, def. Lewis, Broomfield, 6-3, 6-4.
No. 1 doubles — Chrisbens/Silverman, Fairview, def. Schneider/Offerman, Fossil Ridge, def. 6-4, 6-4; Enterline/Callanan, Boulder, def. Bean/Hipp, Mountain Vista, 6-4, 6-0.
No. 2 doubles — Nguyen/Humphrey, Fairview, def. Yeagley/Carlson, Chatifeld, 6-2, 6-2; Lupo/Vanderberg, Broomfield, def. Li/Sikorsky, Fossil Ridge, 6-4, 6-4.
No. 3 doubles — Abbey/Frosch, Denver East, def. Kirkby/Gormley, Fossil Ridge, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6; Grayson/Grimison, Fairview, def. Roberts/Quirk, Rock Canyon, 6-2, 6-0.
No. 4 doubles — Shaffer/Heilbronner, Fairview, def. Joseph/Strobel, Broomfield, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2; Lim Caldwell, Boulder, def. Weaver/Yamasaki, Denver East, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6.