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Boys Tennis: Wingers advance to section semifinals

After losing to Rochester Century earlier this season, Red Wing had a good idea of what to expect from the Panthers, and what could possibly turn the tables.

It worked exactly as planned as the Wingers moved into the Section 1AA semifinals with a 4-3 victory on Thursday.

“The lineup we ran today was perfect for that team,” Red Wing head coach Matt Kavanagh said. “I was pretty confident that we could come out 4-3, and I had a chat with our team to come out and play as competitively as possible.”

Kavanagh said he would go with a lineup featuring strong doubles play instead of the balanced lineup that saw Century beat the Wingers 5-2 on May 3. That left No. 1 singles player Isaac Toivonen as the lone win needed at the top.

For a while, it seemed it might not work.

After both Toivonen and his opponent, Sahil Chhugani, kept serve through the first 11 games, Toivonen broke the Panther to win 7-5. And that sparked the senior to a shutout win in the second set.

“They went all the way to 6-5 without breaking serve. That was a big turning point and he steamrolled him in the second set,” Kavanagh said.

The top two doubles teams got through without much difficulty, but the No. 3 doubles played a nail-biting, third-set tiebreaker. After being down 4-0 and 6-3 in the final set, the team rallied to make it 6-6, fought off two more match points, and won 11-9 in the tiebreaker.

Next up for Red Wing is Lakeville North, in Farmington, at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Sub-section 1AA North semifinals. If the third-seeded Wingers pull the upset against top-seeded North, they would play the south champion, either Rochester Mayo or Lakeville South, in the section final at 1 p.m.

RE Sports

The Red Wing Republican Eagle covers local sports in Goodhue County and surrounding areas. 

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