Some of the area competitors at the Class 4A Region I tennis tournament at Abilene’s Rose Park Tennis Center did what they were expected to do on the tournament’s first day Monday.
Then, there was Denton’s Alex Clerihew.
The boys singles competitor was the surprise of the day as he upset both the No. 2 and No. 3 seeded players to reach today’s championship match, where he’ll face top seed Adam Dockery of Wichita Falls.
Clerihew will be joined in today’s finals by Guyer boys doubles team Kolos Urbanyi and Parker Metcalf, who steamrolled through the first day of play to earn a spot in today’s final. With a win in their respective finals, both would clinch spots in the state tennis tournament on April 29-30 at Austin’s Penick-Allison Tennis Center.
“He did a great job today,” Denton head coach Carlos Blanco said of Clerihew. “He really buckled down and was very coachable. He used his power forehand and his serve to hang in there and competed in pressure moments.”
Clerihew has lost twice this year to Dockery, including a 6-0, 6-0 loss at the District 5-4A tournament when Clerihew was coming off an injury.
Blanco said after the way Monday went for his player, anything is possible today, regardless of the opponent.
“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Blanco said. “In this game, anything can happen. It can’t get any worse than the last time we played him [Dockery]. Anything is possible.”
If Clerihew falls to Dockery again, there could be a possibility of a play-back match that he would have to win to qualify for the state tournament.
Clerihew beat No. 2 seed Robert Woody of Lubbock in a thriller, winning 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2, and then topped No. 3 seed Ben Gutierrez of Dumas 6-2, 6-3.
The Guyer boys doubles team is in the same boat, but they were completely expected to be in that position after entering the tournament as the No. 2 seed. Urbanyi, a junior, and Metcalf, a sophomore, met little resistance, dropping just three games in their three wins over Saginaw Boswell, El Paso Jefferson and Aledo, which they defeated 6-1, 6-1 to advance to today’s final.
In the final, the Guyer boys will square off with the No. 1 seed, Amarillo’s Barrett Barker and Paxton Short.
“They’re really playing well,” Guyer head coach Ron Rogers said. “They’re very strong at the net and are being aggressive there. In doubles, whoever wins the net usually wins. They have the best ground strokes in the tournament, I think, so we have been able to break [serve] early and often.”
In girls doubles, Guyer’s team of senior Alex Rodriguez and freshman Megan Poe lost 3-6, 6-2, 3-6 to Granbury’s Kate Bramlett and Elizabeth Morton in the semifinals.
“It was a roller-coaster match,” Rogers said. “We struggled in the first set, rolled in the second and then we got a 10-minute break before the third set and tried to stay loose, but we got behind early. We tried to make it up, but it was too late.”
Rodriguez and Poe will play Hannah and Jenna Smith of Lubbock in the third-place match.
If Rodriguez and Poe win the third-place match and Granbury beats Brewer, the Guyer duo would face Brewer in a play-back match for the chance to go to the state tournament.