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Sunset's boys lose just eight games in its seven victories

by: MILES VANCE - GOT IT - Southridge junior Andy Nakajima races to make a return during his three-set victory over Sunset's Brian McKittrick in their first singles match at Camille Park on Monday.

PROGRESS — Sunset’s boys tennis team laid down the law.

The Apollos, facing Southridge at Camille Park in Metro League play on Monday, won seven of the day’s eight matches and dropped just eight games in those wins to beat the Skyhawks 7-1. The win lifted Sunset’s Metro League record to 2-1 (4-1 overall), while Southridge fell to 1-2 in league (3-2 overall).by: MILES VANCE - ON THE BALL - Sunset senior Brian McKittrick hits a backhand in his loss to Southridge's Andy Nakajima on Monday.

“We’re really hoping to do well,” said Sunset senior Ian Paik, who posted a straight-set win at second singles. “We lost our top two guys from last year, but we’re trying to make another deep run at state. I hope we have another good season.”

“We’re definitely deep this year. We have a lot of guys who play really well,” added Apollo senior Brian McKittrick, who dropped a three-set decision at first singles. “I think we have a shot at doing really well.”

For Southridge, the Skyhawks’ lone win came in that first singles match, where junior Andy Nakajima battled past McKittrick 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. Nakajima came back from an early deficit to win the first set, saw McKittrick catch fire in the second, then stepped up to win most of the key points in his clinching third-set victory.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match,” Nakajima said. “I think he started off in the first set a little slow, but in the second set, he really got going. After that, I started playing the way I feel like I’m supposed to play and it turned out pretty well.”

For his part, McKittrick knew he’d had his chances against Nakajima, but knew that he needed to have been more efficient if he wanted to win.

“I got my feet under me and started being more aggressive and moving more, and I just focused more on the bigger points” in the second set, McKittrick explained. But after that, “he did a really good job on big points of hitting passing shots. A lot of times I was up 40-30 and he came back to hit two winners to win the game. It was tough.”

The rest of the day was pretty much all Sunset all the time. Emblematic of that was Paik’s effort at second singles, where he dropped just one game in his 6-1, 6-0 victory over Skyhawk freshman Sachin Sakthievel.

“It gave me a chance to practice my serve and volley and get proficient at it,” Paik said. “I’ve been trying to add coming forward a lot — it helps me finish the points a little quicker. I feel pretty confident in that most of the time.”

At third singles, Sunset sophomore Jared Lin raced past Southridge senior Ashwin Swaminathan 6-0, 6-1. And at fourth singles, Apollo sophomore Jonathan Suh swept past Skyhawk senior Hunter Giles 6-0, 6-0.

The carnage continued in doubles play, starting with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 1 by Ryan Chin and Rahul Bilakanti over Omeed Habibelahian and Brandon Irving. At second doubles, Sunset’s Garrett Smith and Aaron Didner notched a 6-0, 6-1 straight-set victory over Eric Seo and Sean Lee.

At third doubles, the Apollo duo of Charles Lee and Matt Means knocked off Southridge’s Eddie Kim and Naveed Habibelahian 6-1, 6-0. And at fourth doubles, it was Sunset’s Nick Lam and Vedant Raol with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Lucio Lucas and Chan Karrehanavetchukul.

“There’s definitely no easy matches in Metro. It’s the best conference by far,” McKittrick added. But “it’s been going pretty good.”

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.

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