DENVER — The Fairview trio of Luke Silverman, Maxim Kokoshinsky and Jake Wicks had dominant performances in the first two rounds of the Class 5A state tennis tournament and advanced to the semifinal round of their respective brackets, which took place on Friday at the Gates Tennis Center.
All three, with Kokoshinsky and Wicks making up one of FHS’ four doubles teams, came through with another dominant effort to advance to the championship rounds at No. 1 singles and No. 3 doubles, respectively, with victories in straight sets.
“It felt great to make it to the finals,” Silverman said. “It’s been a goal of mine this year.”
All three faced familiar foes from the regular season in their semifinal matches as Silverman squared off with George Cavo of Cherry Creek in No. 1 singles and Kokoshinsky and Wicks faced off with Jack Abbey and Quentin Wolfe of Denver East.
“We knew that even though we lost to them last time, it doesn’t mean we were going to lose this time,” Wicks said
Fairview took big leads in the first set of each match early. Silverman was finding his shots early to take a 3-0 lead in the set. His movement on the court allowed him to hit big shots and avoid giving up easy returns for Cavo to drill. The run was extended as he won the first set 6-1.
“Getting ahead early definitely helps when you’re getting those nerves in the beginning of the match,” Silverman said. “I was feeling really good in the first set.”
Silverman had a closer battle in the second set with him and Cavo trading shot for shot. Needing one more point to advance to the final, Silverman hit a shot off the top of the net that bounced on Cavo’s side of the court and was too far away from him to make a play on.
Kokoshinsky and Wicks were tied 2-2 in the first set but rattled off three straight games to take the lead. Abbey and Wolfe would rally for Denver East with two games and capitalized on serves and other shots that were sailing out of bounds or into the net, but the Fairview duo settled in and score the final point needed to take the first set 6-4.
“We were in our heads at the beginning, but once we got out of it, we got it going,” Kokoshinsky said.
Playing less tense in the second set, Kokoshinsky and Wicks dominated from start to finish and won 6-0 for the sweep. A clean game prevented Denver East from scoring points off errors, and the Fairview duo was able to hit a number of big shots right at the net on soft returns from their opponents that helped them blow by late.
“You have to win at the net in doubles,” Kokoshinsky said. “Both of us got up there and we were aggressive. That pretty much is game over.”
All three players from Fairview will return to Gates at 9 a.m. on Saturday to play for titles. Silverman will face Morgan Schilling of Regis Jesuit in the No. 1 singles final while Kokoshinsky and Wicks will play William and Blake Holst of Cherry Creek in their championship match in No. 3 doubles.
“We just need to keep our energy up and swing freely,” Wicks said.
Second chances at 4’s
At the conclusion of the semifinal round, a number of singles players and doubles pairs returned to the court to compete in playbacks — putting in their sights third place — and locally that meant two singles players and a doubles team got the chance to fight back into the placings.
Owen Hushka and Andrew Yonan of Fairview had their first playback match in No. 4 doubles with Jason Olree and Jack Hale of Denver South halted midway through due to a brief rain shower that delayed the tournament. When play resumed, the duo won 6-2, 7-5 to advance to the next round. They would then go on to defeat Korben Cook and Kaustubh Kaushik of Fossil Ridge 6-1, 6-4 to earn a spot in the third-place match Saturday.
Monarch’s Michael Conde returned in No. 1 singles and faced Jared Green of Arapahoe. After winning easily 6-1 in the first set, he needed to win a tiebreaker in the second set 7-6 to advance to the next round. His run would end with a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Nico Jamison of Greeley West that saw him come one round short of the third-place match.
Also in singles, Adam Heilbronner of Fairview drew Bridger Galyardt of Rocky Mountain for his first playback match at 2 singles. The first set was close with Galyardt hanging on to win 7-5, and he rode the momentum from the win to roll 6-1 in the second set to advance.
Hushka and Yonan will play one more match Saturday at 9 a.m. versus Ryan Pool and Diego Garcia-Gallo of Denver East for third place in their bracket.