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Ross Repeats in the County Tennis Final

Wed, 05/29/2024 - 18:41
The Ross School’s boys tennis team, flanked by its coaches, Marcelo Reda and Vinicius Carmo above, repeated as the county’s small schools champion Friday by defeating Bayport-Blue Point 4-3. Eduardo Menezes, the county’s open singles champion, is holding the trophy.
Lisa Frohlich

The Ross School boys tennis team won the county’s small schools tournament at Smithtown East High School Friday, besting Bayport-Blue Point, last year’s finalist, by a score of 4-3. It was the second straight year that the Ravens had won the county tourney. As a result, their record improved to 15-0.

Marcelo Reda, Ross’s coach, moved Henry Tietz, who has been playing doubles with the eighth grader Leo Carmo, up to first singles, and paired Eduardo Menezes, the county boys singles champion, with Carmo at first doubles. The singles players, Tietz, Jagger Cohen, and Teddy Brodlieb, all won handily, Brodlieb’s 6-0, 6-1 win over the Phantoms’ Shlok Parekh providing the all-important fourth point.

Tietz defeated J.T. Swan 6-1, 6-1. Cohen defeated George Rogers 6-0, 6-0. And Menezes and Carmo defeated Shane Duerr and Matt Decatur 6-3, 6-2. Bayport’s Aidan Apicella and Nicholas Byman, Bayport’s second team, defeated Ross’s Nicolas Sanchez and Simon Aser 7-6, 4-6, (10-5). Ross’s Alex Frohlich and Daniel Senado lost 6-1, 6-3 at third doubles to Luke Jensen and Dom Linzie. And Rowan O’Brien and Harry Hackett lost 6-1, 6-1 to the Phantoms’ Declan Schug and Eric Swinkin at fourth doubles.

Ross and Friends Academy were to have met for the Long Island small schools team championship at Smithtown East on Tuesday. The Ravens were shut out by Friends 5-0 in this match last year, though Menezes, a Ross Tennis Academy enrollee as a sophomore, did not play; he had to sit out a year in order to play with the high school team this season.

A native of Florianopolis, Brazil, which is also the home of Gustavo Kuerten, a Hall of Famer who topped the pro circuit in 2000, Menezes said during Ross’s 5-2 semifinal win here over John Glenn on May 22 that Kuerten had been among those recommending that he go to Ross, where Larri Passos, Kuerten’s longtime coach, headed the now-defunct Tennis Academy.

Kuerten had never coached him, Menezes said, but he had been persuaded by Kuerten’s example to switch from a “too confining” two-handed backhand to “a more natural” one-handed one. “I would love to have ‘Guga’s’ one-handed backhand,” he said, with a smile.

Going into Tuesday’s match, Menezes had yet to lose a set this spring, though he said that Half Hollow West’s Bryan Volk, his opponent in the county final, whom he defeated 6-4, 6-2, had tested him. “In the beginning, I was too tense, using too much energy before I settled down and managed the points better,” he said of the final with the Hills West baseliner, who came back from 5-2 to 5-4 in the first set before Menezes served it out.

It had been good for him to play Volk, concluded the Ross senior, who is to play and major in business management beginning next fall at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Menezes said that he likes playing an all-around game, and likes coming to the net when the opportunity arises.

Menezes and Tietz, a senior, and Carmo, who placed third in the county doubles bracket, are going to play in the state tournament that begins tomorrow at Flushing Meadows, where the U.S. Open is played. When Carmo’s father, Vinicus, was the head coach, Ross sent four players to the state tourney in 2011 — Richard Sipala, Henry Lee, Felipe Reis, and Trippie Tuff.

It’s been almost a half-century since a boys tennis player from here has won a county singles championship. Paul Annacone, the former touring pro, who attended East Hampton High School in his freshman and senior years — sandwiched around two years at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla. — did so as a Shoreham-Wading River eighth grader in 1977. Should Menezes win the state championship, he would apparently be the first boy from here to do so.

The year he won the county tournament, Annacone, who later in his career coached Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, and who is now a Tennis Channel commentator, was eliminated in the state’s quarterfinal round by Jimmy Gurfein, then a senior, whom he was to defeat numerous times as a touring pro.

Nadia Smergut, “the best female tennis player I’ve ever coached,” said the elder Carmo, won the county girls singles championship in 2010 as a sophomore. Sandy Fleischman Richman, then an East Hampton senior, who had started out playing on the school’s boys team, won county and state girls championships in 1978.

In other tournament news, East Hampton’s 14th-seeded team lost a second-round large schools tournament match at Westhampton by a score of 4-3 on May 22 after defeating 19th-seeded Huntington 4-3 at home the day before.

C.J. Baumrind and Griffin Beckmann, Bonac’s second doubles team, clinched the win over Huntington, defeating their opponents 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 after East Hampton’s coach, Pablo Montesi, urged them to play with confidence and to play their shots largely cross-court before they entered the deciding set.

“We were so close in the Westhampton match,” Montesi said. “Their fourth point came in a three-setter at second doubles. It was so close. The kids fought really hard. Just unlucky.”

Nick Cooper, Miguel Garcia, and Marcus Wechsler all won in straight sets in singles. Cooper and Garcia each won 6-0, 6-0, and Wechsler won 6-2, 6-4.

But the Hurricanes swept the four doubles matches. Giancarlo Volpe and Robert Stabile defeated Kiefer Mitchell (whose older brother, Cameron, did not play) and Carlos Quintana 6-1, 6-0. Theo Grellet-Aumont and Bryce Groth defeated Henry Cooper and Lucas Centalonza 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3). Allessandro Almundi and Matthew Moran defeated Baumrind and Beckmann 6-4, 6-3. And Brady Schultz and Aaron Gomez defeated Joseph Martinez-Garces and David Flores 6-1, 6-2.

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