Amarillo-metro tennis players show strength in semifinals

Posted May 19, 2017 05:35 am

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lance.lahnert@amarillo.com

Amarillo-metro schools made strong statewide statements in boys singles and mixed doubles Thursday reaching a trio of semifinals on the biggest stage high school tennis offers at the 2017 UIL State Tennis Tournament at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center & Omar Smith Intramural Tennis Center in College Station.

Amarillo High junior Rajiv Saralaya was dominating before losing in the semifinals in the Class 5A boys singles bracket.

Also in Class 5A, Randall’s mixed doubles team of seniors Josh Williams and Brailey McMinn won their quarterfinal match 7-6(5), 6-1 over Luke Hudson and Bella Nguyen of College A&M Consolidated.

In Class 6A, Tascosa’s mixed doubles team of freshman Avery Zavala and senior Rebecca Ritchie dumped the highly-regarded team of Marcus Sweeny-Loli Perim of Austin Westlake 6-4 7-6(4) in quarterfinals action.

Saralaya and the two doubles teams saw their impressive seasons end in the semifinals and with state bronze medals.

Saralaya opened Thursday in impressive fashion dropping just one game in a 6-0, 6-1 quarterfinal win over College Station’s Taylor Jean.

Saralaya dropped a tightly-contested three-game heartbreaker in the semifinals falling 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 to Campbell Erwin of San Antonio Alamo Heights.

Saralaya finishes his 2016-17 season with a 76-2 record in doubles and singles matches, becoming the first Amarillo High boys singles player to reach the state semifinals in more than 20 years.

“Rajiv’s semifinal match was an epic one,” said veteran AHS tennis coach Koby Otto. “It was back and forth and a huge crowd was out there to see it. I really do believe that was the state championship match. He played very well, you can’t fault him. Campbell deserves credit for playing well, too.”

After splitting the opening two sets, Saralaya seemed to have the…

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