DENVER — Everything you saw from Kap Smith midway through the second set of his quarterfinal match against Mountain Vista’s Ben Antonsen at the Gates Tennis Center’s Court No. 6 told you it was over.
Already down a set and 3-0 in the second, Smith’s racquet would constantly hit the ground and his body language was anything but good.
“I was think to myself, it’s just tennis, so let’s just fight,” Smith said. “And I did it for my Aunt Lala (Leslie), cause she is sick right now and I am going to win this for you.”
Not only did the freshman rally in the second to force a decisive third set, but he found a way to finally break Antonsen in the ninth game of the the third to eventually win 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 singles and advance to the semifinals.
It capped a banner day for both Boulder and Fairview, which both moved all three of their singles players into the semis on Friday morning at 9 a.m.
In the critical break, much like he did most of the third set, Smith became a wall and forced his opponent to hit extra shots and eventually force the error. A big forehand winner gave Smith two break points and then a long rally resulted in an Antonsen error and Smith had the opening he needed.
“He had the pressure and I was just hitting the ball back in the court,” said Smith, who beat Chatfield’s Brian Moss 6-0, 6-2 in the first round. “He was trying to force shots, so I knew if I kept doing that, he would miss a couple here and there.”
Smith will play Cherry Creek’s Ethan Hillis on Friday, an opponent he lost to earlier this season but has beaten on the summer circuit in the past. On the other half of the No. 1 singles draw, Fairview’s Ignatius Castelino lost just three games in his two matches and breezed into the semifinals against Denver East’s Kai Smith.
Hillis got the better of Monarch’s Derek Wright in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-3. It wasn’t what the Coyotes junior had in mind, but he was pleased with his overall performance.
“Any year you get to go to state, that’s big and I’m pretty proud of that,” said Wright, who became the first Monarch player to ever win a match at state last season. “It’s pretty cool seeing all these top guys like Ignatius and Ethan and it was really fun playing them. Hopefully I’ll be back next year.”
At No. 2 singles, Fairview’s Tommy Mason hardly broke a sweat on Thursday en route to the semis. The Knights senior dropped one game in his opening match to Loveland’s David Lee and then whitewashed Chatfield’s Patrick Ross in under 45 minutes, 6-0, 6-0.
“Last night at the team meeting, it was just all about the next point. It doesn’t matter the opponent, it doesn’t matter what is going on, just do our job and play our tennis,” Mason said. “We know we are good and we know we can win if we just stay within ourselves.”
Mason will play Boulder’s Jackson Hawk in the semifinals in a rematch of their Sept. 18 dual meet match that Mason won is straight sets.
Also at No. 2 singles, Broomfield’s Grant Wood gave Cherry Creek’s Harshil Dwivedi all he could handle in a 6-4, 7-5 first round loss.
Wood, who drew even at 5-5 in the second set with a huge break of serve, was not afraid of the the Bruins senior and traded powerful ground strokes with his opponent, but the unforced errors added up in the end.
“I really tried to keep my head up when I was down 5-4 and got the break, but in the next game I made a few small errors and that was enough to do it,” said. Wood, who will get a chance at the playbacks if Dwivedi reaches the finals. “I tried to think of it as everyone is beatable and anyone can lose on any given day. I just had to come out and play the best I can.”
Finally at No. 3 singles, both Boulder’s Cutter Esson and Fairview’s Alec Leddon moved on to the next round, but did so in drastically different ways. Leddon had little trouble with Fossil Ridge’s Jackson Johar, downing him 6-0, 6-0. But Esson had to rally from a one-set deficit against Grand Junction’s Matt Ness to advance 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1. The local rivals are on opposite sides of the the draw.
It was a rough go for the area’s doubles teams, especially at No. 1 doubles where Fairview’s duo of Tom Melville and Andrew Pollack had to retire in the second set, when the pain just got to be too much for Melville. He wrenched his back in the first set against the Chatfield team and was hardly able to move as the match wore on. And with tears in his eyes and a quick consult from coach Chad Tsuda decided to throw in the towel.
The only area doubles team still alive in the championship draw is Fairview’s No. 4 pairing of Jackson Martin and Brooks Savage. They recorded a three-set victory over Denver East’s Jonny Cook and Wesley Wooden at City Park.
Follow Jon on Twitter: twitter.com/JonEYunt
Class 5A State Tournament
At Gates Tennis Center and City Park
Team scores (through Day 1) — Cherry Creek 21, Denver East 16, Fairview 15, Fossil Ridge 12, Boulder 12, Regis Jesuit 10, Mountain Vista 9, Chatfield 5, Arapahoe 2, Monarch 2, Castle View 2, Fort Collins 1, Legend 1, Broomfield 1, Grand Junction 1, Arvada West 1, Heritage1.
No. 1 singles — Kap Smith, Boulder def. Brian Ross, Chatfield, 6-0, 6-2; Ben Antonsen, Mountain Vista def. Garet Davis Loveland, 6-1, 6-2; Ethan Hillis, Cherry Creek def. Isaac Smith, Rocky Mountain, 6-4, 6-4; Derek Wright, Monarch def. Skyler Gates, Heritage, 6-3, 6-2; Ignatius Castelino, Fairview def. Matt Harris, Fruita Monument, 6-2, 6-1; Jake Becker, Arapahoe def. Monroe Porter, Legend, 6-1, 7-6 (3); Kai Smith, Denver East def. Cody Carlton, Castle View, 6-1, 6-4; Lucas Martin, Fossil Ridge def. Ryan Beckstrom, Chaparral, 7-6 (0), 6-1.
No. 2 singles — Harshil Dwivedi, Cherry Creek def. Grant Wood, Broomfield, 6-4, 7-5; Josh Hunt, Castle View def. Randy Hurshman, Fruita Monument, 6-0, 6-3; Charlie Franks, Denver East def. Jack Alexander, Heritage, 6-0, 6-0; Colin Brown, Arapahoe def. CJ Moddelmog, Fort Collins, 6-3, 6-4; Tommy Mason, Fairview def. David Lee, Loveland, 6-0, 6-1; Patrick Ross, Chatfield def. Gabe Pagat, Fossil Ridge, 6-0, 6-1; Jackson Hawk, Boulder def. Trace Collins, Regis Jesuit, 6-3, 6-1; Austin Gruszczynski, Mountain Vista def. Jack Ferry, Monarch, 6-1, 6-0.
No. 3 singles — Matt Ness, Grand Junction def. Suraj Renganathan, Fort Collins, 6-3, 6-3; Cutter Esson, Boulder def. Keegan McNamara, Monarch, 6-0, 6-0; John Simpson, Chatfield def. Josh Haddad, Pine Creek, 7-6 (4), 6-2; Robby Hill, Cherry Creek def. Jadon Tanguma, Arvada West, 6-1, 6-0; Colby Jimenez, Denver East def. Christian Slupe, Heritage, 6-0, 6-0; Greg Connelly, Castle View, def. Erich Nuss, Regis Jesuit, 6-3, 6-4; Jackson Johar, Fossil Ridge def. Cameron Bergan, Cherokee Trail, 7-5, 6-1; Alec Leddon, Fairview def. Dylan Panis, 6-0, 6-1.
No. 1 doubles — Tommy Koszowski-Patrick Seby, Regis Jesuit def. Connor Lewis-Bryce Viorst, 6-2, 6-0; Max Weiner-Nic Hoime, Fossil Ridge def. Tanner Ford-Vik Sheverda, Cherokee Trail, 6-4, 6-2; Michael Patrick/Luis Perez-Marin, Arvada West def. Gabriel Treider-Sam Graf, Fruita Monument, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2; Kobe Holdren-Ashwin Vaithianathan, Mountain Vista def. Josh Fields-Teller Hoskins, Legend, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3; Cameron McGregor-Mitch McGregor, Heritage def. Ben Arja-Ty Gardner, Grand Junction, 7-5, 6-1; Jacob Bendalin-Wyatt Dale, Cherry Creek def. Arie van Vuuren-Nathan Lazarus, Boulder, 6-1, 6-3; Tom Melville-Andrew Pollack, Fairview def. Sam Muetterties-Sanjay-Patil, Arapahoe, 6-1, 6-1; Sam Meyer-Austin Stutz, Chatfield def. Connor Shore-Garrett Schappell, Fort Collins, 6-2, 6-0.
No. 2 doubles — Devin Harper-Graham Blanco, Fairview def. Charlie Eck-Conor McCarthy, Ralston Valley, 6-1, 6-3; Matt Woody-Eli Wiener, Denver East def. Trae Beneck-James Zimmerman, Fort Collins, 6-0, 6-1; Sean Barich-Hunter Hostelley, Mountain Vista def. Raey Waters-John Troetschel, Arvada West, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6; Aaron Liss-Davis Page, Legend def. Jason Arnell-Tyler Speck, Arapahoe, 6-2, 6-4; Noah Reiss-Mitchell Johnson, Cherry Creek def. Preston Slupe-Tanner Steiert, Heritage, 6-4, 6-2; Scott Sunset-David Defrancia, Fossil Ridge def. Ian Hegstrom-Sam Shaver, Grand Junction, 6-2, 6-0; Alec Jotte-Joey Robertson, Regis Jesuit def. Chris Burris-Mathew Yan, Grandview, 6-1, 6-2; Cole Smith-Henry Hawk, Boulder def. James Stagg-Colton Reimer, Fruita Monument, 6-0, 6-2.
No. 3 doubles — Connor Dawson-Scott Neville, Boulder def. James Hunsinger-Jack Shore, Fort Collins, 6-1, 6-4; Erin Norwood-Ryan James, Cherry Creek def. Keaton Komatz-Oliver Henry, Heritage, 6-0, 6-1; Spencer Clauson-Ethan Schacht, Fairview def. Noah Curd-Alexander Cruz, Arapahoe, 6-1, 7-6; Kevin Schultz-Mike Brown, Fossil Ridge def. Ryan Bowen-Matt Miller, Grand Junction, 6-3, 6-3; TJ Braxton-Eric Dellavalle, Denver East def. Jacob Kark-David Wollins, George Washington, 6-1, 6-2; Caleb Penner-Coby Babcock, Broomfield def. Ryan Fenske-Andy Chen, ThunderRidge, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5; Truett Davis-Steven Bummer, Regis Jesuit def. Grant Kochmann-Keegan Pittz, Arvada West, 6-2, 6-1; Mac Bolak-Tom Abrams, Monarch def. Rahul Verma-Logan Schwanz, Cherokee Trail, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
No. 4 doubles — Jackson Martin-Brooks Savage, Fairview def. John Guettlein-Johnny Kleckner, Arvada West, 6-1, 6-2; Jonny Cook-Wesley Wooden, Denver East def. Peyton Harmon-Brandon Lovato, Fruita Monument, 6-2, 7-5; Tristan Faust-Dylan Harris, Fossil Ridge def. Chase Douglas-Jake Jones, Arapahoe, 6-1, 6-4; Aidan Mulligan-Kelby Woodard, Boulder def. Luke Ho-Krish Desai, Cherokee Trail, 6-1, 6-0; Mitch Carlson-Jared Graham, Fort Collins def. Austin Cracraft-Itai Boneh, Monarch, 6-2, 6-4; Luca Abbott-Max Koszowski, Regis Jesuit def. Andy Side-Adam Liss, Legend, 6-2, 6-0; Eric Zhao-Ethan Simmons, Mountain Vista def. Andrew Dallakoti-Jonathan Schreiber, Heritage, 6-3, 7-5; Graydon Johnson-Andy Duggan, Cherry Creek def. Josh Bean-Ken Shankar, ThunderRidge, 6-1, 6-0.
No. 1 singles — Smith, Boulder def. Antonsen, Mountain Vista, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4; Hillis, Cherry Creek def. Wright, Monarch, 6-3, 6-3; Castelino, Fairview def. Becker, Arapahoe, 6-0, 6-0; Smith, Denver East def. Martin, Fossil Ridge, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
No. 2 singles — Dwivedi, Cherry Creek def. Hunt, Castle View, 6-1, 6-2; Franks, Denver East def. Brown, Arapahoe, 6-1, 6-2; Mason Fairview def. Ross, Chatfield, 6-0, 6-0; Hawk, Boulder def. Gruszczynski, Mountain Vista, 6-3, 6-4.
No. 3 singles — Esson, Boulder def. Ness, Grand Junction, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1; Hill, Cherry Creek def. Simpson, Chatfield, 6-1, 6-0; Jimenez, Denver East def. Connelly, Castle View, 6-0, 6-1; Leddon, Fairview def. Johar, Fossil Ridge, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 1 doubles — Weiner-Hoime, Fossil Ridge def. Koszowski-Seby, Regis Jesuit, 6-1, 7-6 (2); Holdren-Vaithianathan, Mountain Vista def. Patrick/Perez-Marin, Arvada West, 6-0, 6-3; Bendalin-Dale, Cherry Creek def. C. McGregor-M. McGregor, Heritage, 6-3, 6-0; Meyer-Stutz, Chatfield def. Melville-Pollack, Fairview, 6-4, 3-0 (ret.).
No. 2 doubles — Woody-Wiener, Denver East def. Harper-Blanco, Fairview, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2; Barich-Hostelley, Mountain Vista def. Liss-Page, Legend, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3; Reiss-Johnson, Cherry Creek def. Sunset-Defrancia, Fossil Ridge, 6-4, 6-3; Jotte-Robertson, Regis Jesuit def. Smith-Hawk, Boulder, 6-0, 6-2.
No. 3 doubles — Norwood-James, Cherry Creek def. Dawson-Neville, Boulder, 6-0, 6-1; Schultz-Brown, Fossil Ridge def. Clauson-Schacht, Fairview, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3; Braxton-Dellavalle, Denver East def. Penner-Babcock, Broomfield, 4-6, 6-0, 6-0; Davis-Bummer, Regis Jesuit def. Bolak-Abrams, Monarch, 6-2, 6-0.
No. 4 doubles — Martin-Savage, Fairview def. Cook-Wooden, Denver East, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; Faust-Harris, Fossil Ridge def. Mulligan-Woodard, Boulder, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5; Abbott-Koszowski, Regis Jesuit def. Carlson-Graham, Fort Collins, 6-3, 6-3; Johnson-Duggan, Cherry Creek def. Zhao-Simmons, Mountain Vista, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.