Boys Tennis: Central Ohio players advance to state tournament

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
New Albany's Ryan Mudre advanced to the Division I state tournament along with doubles partner Devin Boyer.

Twenty-one of the 24 matches during the first day of the Division I district boys tennis tournament were decided in straight sets, and now the four singles players and four doubles teams still standing will square off for state tournament positioning.

New Albany’s doubles team of Devin Boyer and Ryan Mudre won both of their matches 6-0, 6-0 on May 20 at Reynoldsburg, including a state-qualifying victory over Worthington Kilbourne’s Owen Alderman and Tanner Hauptman, to lead all area players. Boyer and Mudre both will make their third state appearances but first as a team.

Boyer won the doubles championship in 2018 with Nathan Jose, and the same pair finished third the next year. Mudre qualified in 2018 and 2019 in singles.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state May 28 and 29 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

“We’ve been playing a lot, just working hard and I think we’re really experienced,” Mudre said. “That will help us. We’ve been working on our volleys a lot so we should be ready.”

Teammates Ben Bilenko and Declan Freedhoff also qualified for state with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Dublin Coffman’s Sanjay Janardhan and William Sun.

Dublin Jerome doubles teams earned the other two berths.

Max Fickas and Tanish Pairu swept Coffman’s Anton Bakunin and Siddarath Rajagopal 6-2, 6-0 in a qualifying match, and Kevin Liu and Eli Wiblin beat Upper Arlington’s Jack Jones and Ethan Samora 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

The only singles match to go three sets was a qualifying match in which Olentangy Liberty’s Vishnu Bodavula edged Olentangy Orange’s Parth Patel 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. Bodavula, who made state in doubles two years ago, defeated Patel 6-3, 6-2 during the regular season.

“I lost a tight first set and I just had to battle it out,” Bodavula said. “I faced a lot of hardships on the court. It was hot and I had to stay in it. He played a lot better match today than during the (regular) season. He made it tough for me.”

St. Charles’ Reece Yakubov clinched his third state berth and second in singles with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Reynoldsburg’s Jaden Coley.

The area’s other two singles qualifiers both are headed to state for the first time.

Gahanna’s Brandon Carpico defeated Olentangy’s Sam Routzahn 6-0, 6-2 to advance, and Pickerington North’s Pavan Uppu beat Orange’s Kallan Arledge 6-1, 6-1.

Semifinals and finals will be May 22 at Reynoldsburg.

Wellington dominates

on first day in Division II

Wellington set itself apart from the competition on the first day of the Division II district tournament May 20 at Columbus Academy, as the Jaguars had both state qualifiers in singles and one of the two doubles teams.

Griffin Biernat and Sanjan Shanker advanced along with the doubles team of Braysen Chawla and Evan Manley. As a freshman in 2018, Biernat won the state doubles title with his brother, Connor Biernat.

“It was a good day for Wellington and the kids,” coach Tom Haddow said. “I’m more proud of the team than any single one of the kids, especially after losing a lot of kids from last year’s non-season. They worked so hard and played all through (the) COVID (-19 coronavirus pandemic) to get this far.”

The other doubles team to advance to state was Academy’s Jack Madison and Arie Tuckerman. The pair finished second at state in 2019 when they lost to teammates Rhian Seneviratne and Suriya Sundaram 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 in the final.

Biernat defeated Jonathan Alder’s Riley Woods 6-0, 6-0 in one semifinal, and Shanker defeated Watterson’s Nick Geelan 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the other. The teammates face off for the district title May 22 at Academy.

Chawla and Manley defeated Academy’s Jack Stouffer and Jaswanth Vandrasi 6-4, 6-2 in a semifinal, while Madison and Tuckerman defeated Bexley’s Will Meyer and Stefan Schiff 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-0 in the other semifinal. They will meet in the championship match May 22.

—Scott Hennen

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