Central duo wins district doubles

Saturday, May 10, 2008

CREVE COEUR, Mo. — One of the main responsibilities of a high school tennis coach is to place his players in districts to give them the best opportunity to advance to the state tournament.

Each team is allowed to have two singles players and two doubles teams compete in the tournament, with only the top two from the district advancing to the state tournament in Springfield.

Last year, Central coach Bud Craven teamed Patrick Duffy and David Berry in doubles. That turned out to be a good decision as the team finished second in district and got to experience the state tournament.

This was going to be the year that Craven was going to have Berry and Duffy try their hands in singles.

"I had every intention of having them play singles this year," Craven said. "But then I learned about the Lindbergh trio and changed my mind."

The Flyers had an influx of talented international players come into their program, one from Germany (who was a nationally ranked player at one time), one from Spain and another from England.

Berry and Duffy were thus teamed once again in doubles, and the seniors will be making another trip to the Cooper Tennis Complex after another impressive showing in the Class 2 District 1 tournament, which concluded Friday at the Creve Coeur Racquet Club in St. Louis County. This time they will go to the state tournament as district champions after a 6-4, 6-0 victory over two of the foreign players from Lindbergh, James Gyllenborg (England) and Carlos Salvador-Trullenque (Spain) in the title match.

"We are just so glad to be back," said Berry, a southpaw who had an overhead winner on match point in a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 semifinal win over Parkway South's Matt Epplin and Ryan Lund. "We really didn't know what to expect, as this district was stocked full with new players."

Berry and Duffy were seeded first by virtue of their showing last year. But they were tested in matches Thursday and Friday. They won their quarterfinal match 6-1, 7-6 over Eureka's Lance Baker and Kurtis Fjerstad, then needed the three sets in the semifinals.

"It was a lot tougher to get through this time," Duffy said. "The competition was better, and I think that our experience from last year was a big key for us. This is something we really wanted."

Berry and Duffy did not win a match at state last year, losing to teams from Rock Bridge and DeSmet.

"I think we were a little intimidated last year," Duffy said. "The state tournament was a real eye opener for us. This year we have more confidence and we want to make more of an impact."

The Tigers enjoyed a solid tournament, finishing second as a team to Lindbergh. All Central district players had at least one win.

The other doubles team of Will LaFoe and Garrett McMillan blanked Mehlville's John Twillmann and Joe Rozier 6-0, 6-0 in their first match, before losing to Salvador-Trullenque and Gyllenborg 6-1, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.

Josh Hubbard and Brandon Gonzales each won a match in singles. Hubbard beat Tyler Lartonoix of Oakville 6-1, 6-0, before falling to fourth-seeded Matt Farnham of Eureka 6-3, 6-1.

Gonzales had a 6-3, 6-1 win over Komrun Divanbeigi of Parkway South, then was eliminated by second-seeded Malay Bhatt of Poplar Bluff 6-1, 6-2.

Lindbergh's Thomas Wolff, the German foreign exchange student, dropped just one game in his four matches on his way to the district singles title.

The Tigers move on to regional competition. They will host the third-place district finisher, Eureka, on Tuesday.

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