North pulls minor upset, wins invitational

The Columbus North boys tennis team will most likely move up in the state rankings after running the table in its North Invitational that included No. 18 Providence.

Providence was the Bull Dogs’ first ranked opponent of the year, and No. 23 North pulled out a 3-2 victory to keep its unblemished record intact. The Bull Dogs (9-0) gave up just one point in the following two matches, beating Batesville 5-0 and Martinsville 4-1.

North coach Kendal Hammel said beating Providence was the big match of the day for his team.

“(We) came out playing very aggressive,” Hammel said. “The singles positions all played strong right off the bat. That was definitely a team win. We talked beforehand about this being a team that’s ranked higher than us. This is a chance to bump a team that is a little bit stronger to sort of see where we are state-wise. All of the positions came out playing right of the bat … Even the spots that we lost, I thought we still played very good in.”

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Joey Zhao took care of business at No. 2 singles, beating Jack Arnson of Providence 6-2 in both sets. Chris Ruble and Adam Saad won another North point by beating Cullen Ebert and Aaron Agtuca 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles. Isaac Jackson and Ben Mathew fell to Adam Starr and Carson Carrico 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles to give the Pioneers their first point.

Kevin Lin and Akshaya Sabapathy were both pushed to three sets at No. 1 and No. 3 singles. Lin dropped the first set 6-4 to Nick Boesing at No. 1 singles before winning the second set 6-4. Boesing won the tiebreaker 10-2 to earn Providence’s second point.

Sabapathy dropped his first set at No. 3 singles 6-3 to Harry Green. Sabapathy won the second set 6-1 and took home the 10-6 super-tiebreaker to seal the Bull Dogs victory.

“I was kind of nervous in the first set because it’s the first official ranked opponent we’ve played this year, and they’re ranked ahead of us,” Sabapathy said. “I really wanted to get of to a good start. I thought I played too aggressive in the first set, but I calmed down a bit afterwards.”

That was Sabapathy’s closest match of the day. He went on to beat Batesville’s Adam Scott 6-0,6-2 in the second match. Lin defeated Lleyton Ratcliffe 6-2, 6-2 and Zhao beat Sam Giesting 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 singles. Jackson and Mathew beat George Ritter and Lane Westerfeld 6-0, 6-2, while Ruble and Saad won 6-1, 6-3.

North’s only lost point against Martinsville came at No. 1 singles, where Hunter Sylvester beat Lin 6-0 in both sets. Zhao beat Jacob Diper 6-2, 6-1, and Sabapathy won 6-2, 6-3 against Adyson Everett. Jackson and Mathew beat Tanner Guerretta and Ethan MacDonald of Martisville 6-2, 6-0. Ruble and Saad won against Gus Eaton and Cameron Owens 6-0, 6-1.

“Being the third match of the day, the guys stayed focused,” Hammel said. “They didn’t get lazy and sloppy. They did what they needed to do to take care of business and win that match.”