MASON — While it rained most of the week, forcing Friday’s first-round matches to be moved indoors, Greater Cincinnati’s tennis players broke a tennis tournament title drought on Saturday. the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
There were no Cincinnati State champions last year and the 2020 season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Senior Mason Vignesh Gogineni broke the skid with the first Division I singles title of the day at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. After beating Sycamore’s Nicholas Choo 6-1, 6-0 in the morning semi-final, he beat Gahanna’s Brandon Carpico 6-3, 6-2 in a rematch of last year’s Championship.
As the match ended, he dropped his racquet and stretched his hands out into the overcast sky.
“It’s great to win one this year,” said Gogineni. “It’s in three years, that’s how it is.”
Gogineni methodically won the final set by raising a finger for every point. Before that, he had been very insistent on bringing Comet fans into the game.
“I feel like sometimes I feed off the crowd,” he said. “When I’m on my feet, they pump me even more. It motivates me to play better.”
Southwest Ohio’s last Division I singles champion was Mason’s Niraj Komatineni in 2019.
In the Division I singles match for third place, Sycamore teammates Chad Miller and Choo faced off in the afternoon. Miller, the district champion, lost to Carpico de Gahanna 6-3, 6-3 and Choo fell to Gogineni de Mason 6-1, 6-0 in the morning. Miller beat Choo 6-2, 6-1 for third place.
Greater Cincinnati was guaranteed to have a mid-morning tournament champion at the Lindner Tennis Center in Mason. Sycamore’s Nicholas Meyers/Max Karev beat Dublin Jerome’s Max Fickas/Tanish Pairu 6-2, 6-4. Complex-wide, Mason’s Anish Gangavaram/Akshay Joshi beat Olentangy Orange’s Parth Patel/Kallan Arledge 6-4. 6-3 setting up the Greater Miami Conference Finals.
Gangavaram and Joshi were the South West District champions and they went three sets again with Meyers/Karev as the Comets prevailed for their second title of the day, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3. Gangavaram and Joshi are also seniors like fellow champion Gogineni.
“It was an uphill battle,” Joshi said. “I’m glad we were able to keep a cool head. We believe in each other and we got through it. They know our game so well and we know there is one. It was just a dogfight .”
Court 11 was festive most of the day with Mason and Sycamore fans cheering on their teams for GMC and state pride. It was by far the noisiest gaming venue of the day.
“Doubles is still one of the most exciting sports,” said Gangavaram. “You could see on the pitch the momentum coming and going. I think we were able to capitalize at the end. I think our training came back to that.”
Next up for Sycamore is New Albany, where they will represent the district in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Tag Team Tournament on Sunday.
“We’re hoping to take care of business there,” Sycamore coach Mike Teets said. “Winning the GMC and the state championship are our two biggest goals and we still have a chance to do both.”
There hasn’t been a Cincinnati Division II doubles champion since Vishaal Nalagatla/Justin Baker of Cincinnati Country Day in 2017.
Tejati Pisati/RJ Poffenberger of Indian Hill ended this streak also on Saturday afternoon. After defeating Ethan Blatt/John Corbett of Seven Hills, 7-5, 6-0, in the semi-finals, they defeated Jake Goldstein/Gabi Kalir of Pepper Pike Orange 6-4, 6-4. It was Indian Hill’s first state title since Andrew Pregel won the singles in 2018.
“Last year we just missed out,” Poffenberger said as a sophomore. “We lost in the semi-finals in three sets. This year we succeeded.”
Senior Pisati added: “It was a lot of fun, especially knowing that it was our last chance together since I was a senior. We knew we had a good shot before this tournament. We just had to lock ourselves in and get the dub (W).”
For third place in Division II doubles, it was the Seven Hills duo of Corbett/Blatt who beat Ace Bloom/Krish Mehra of Pepper Pike Orange, 6-3, 6-1.
Armed with a state title, Indian Hill hit the road to Upper Arlington where they will play in the Division II OTCA Tag Team Tournament on Sunday.
“We want this one!” said Indian Hill coach Wade Ward. “Everyone gets a ring, everyone appreciates it. It should be fun. We have the horses to do it, we just have to make sure we put the work in the right place.”
How Other State Qualifiers Fared
In Division I doubles, Drew Evans/Tucker Berry beat University School’s Nathan Mu/Dean Kirchick 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 before falling to eventual finalists Meyers/Karev State of Sycamore 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
Senior Kevin Dong and second Arjun Rajagopala lost in the Division I quarter-finals to Lewis Center Olentangy Orange’s Kallan Arledge/Parth Patel 6-4, 6-3. Dong/Rajagopala defeated AJ Sidoti/Luke LeMaster of Avon in the first round, 6-1, 6-2.
Junior Will Stephens lost in the first round of Division II to Pepper Pike Orange’s Ben Pomeranets, 6-0, 6-0. Pomeranets was Saturday’s DII singles champion.
Sophomore Ethan Camp lost in the DII first round to Bryan’s Jay Fortner, 6-4, 6-2. In doubles, Max Berghausen and Michael Ryu won their opening doubles match with Lexington’s Ryan Mecurio/Ross Drlik 6-1, 6-4 but lost to Pepper Pike Orange’s Bloom/Mehra in the quarterfinals, 7- 6, 3-6, 6 -4.
Sophomore Avi Mahajan, third in the state in 2021 and Southwest District champion, fell in the second round of DII on Friday. He won his first round 6-0, 6-0 over Jack Burke of Toledo Ottawa Hills, but faced defending champion Andrew Zimcovsky of Chagrin Falls, who won 6-2, 6-3, in his match. quarterfinal.