Jonah Ng and Aaron Heinlein provided no favors to late-arriving fans for Monday’s District 10 boys singles tennis tournament finals.
They not only recorded straight-set victories in their respective title matches, but did so in well under one hour of playing time.
Ng lost only one game over four matches in a tournament that started on Saturday.
“This feels great,” Ng said. “I wanted this (championship), and it happened. I want to thank my coaches, my teammates and especially my parents for this. “
Heinlein, a McDowell junior, repeated as the District 10 Class 3A champion. He accomplished that with a 6-2, 6-0 victory vs. fellow Trojan Dan Bargielski.
Heinlein was favored to win the tournament, while Bargielski was unseeded. He reached Monday’s final thanks to upsets of the tournament’s third and second seeds during Saturday’s quarterfinals and semifinals.
D-10 singles from Saturday:District 10 determines finalists for boys singles tennis tournament
Bargielski played Heinlein with the same unorthodox technique – serving left-handed, but volleying right-handed – that he’s used for the brunt of his tennis career.
“I’ve been playing with Dan since ninth grade,” Heinlein said. “(His volleys di lui) are definitely something you have to get used to, but for this match I was good with it. You knew what was coming. You weren’t shocked with his forehands and backhands. “
Ng could face familiar foes
Monday’s winners advanced to the PIAA singles tournament, which will be held Memorial Day weekend at Hershey Racquet Club.
Ng will be the district’s lone player in the 2A field. He’s scheduled to open against District 5’s gold medalist.
Although Ng will be a first-time participant as far as the PIAA is concerned, the rookie Rambler expects to cross paths with others he’s met or faced during numerous high-level youth tournaments.
“I’m excited to see a lot of my friends there,” Ng said. “It will be a lot of fun.”
Heinlein reclaims more than title
Heinlein was eliminated in the first round of the 2021 PIAA 3A singles tournament. His latest chance of him to win his initial state match will be against Justin Yi, a Lower Merion senior.
Council Rock South’s Mikkel Zinder defeated Yi last Saturday in their District 1 final. Zinder, thanks to a 6-1, 6-0 victory, was the reason for Heinlein’s early state departure a year ago.
Heinlein admitted he wasn’t fully prepared for the heightened level of play that Zinder brought to the court.
Now, at least, he’s more squared away with what to expect from Yi and any opponents who follow.
“Last year, I was just going for too much on (every shot),” Heinlein said. “I was always going for winners, and I didn’t change up anything. Now, I know I have to try and rally more. Try to make them hit one more shot. “
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While Heinlein retained his district title, McDowell coach Richard Beck said Monday’s win also helped the team’s top player regain some of the healthy confidence that’s occasionally eluded him this spring.
“I think he’s getting his mojo back and playing through (doubts),” Beck said. “I’ve told Aaron you never want to feel like you must win a match. Sure, you want to try and win. Every athlete does in every sport. But when you get to the point where you feel like you must win a match, that’s where you get into trouble.
“When he played in this (tournament) – especially when (the matches) were two out of three sets – you could see his confidence rise. He was getting better and better. “
District doubles due next
Had Rocco upset Ng, he would have been Harbor Creek’s first representative in a PIAA singles tournament since 1992, when play was still an open-class format.
That year, the Huskies’ Paul Skrok was listed in the original 32-player state bracket. Scranton Prep’s Kent Koch defeated him 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.
Rocco, though, still has the chance to make travel plans for Hershey. Monday’s loss meant he’s eligible to return to Westwood on Wednesday, when the district one-day doubles tournament will take place.
The 2A first round is scheduled to start at 10:30 am and the 3A first round at noon. Like Monday, the winning duos will qualify for PIAA action at the end of this month.
Contact Mike Copper at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNcopper.
Championship results for the District 10 boys singles tennis tournament at Westwood Racquet Club. The winners advanced to the May 27-28 PIAA tournament at Hershey Racquet Club:
No. 1 Jonah Ng (Cathedral Prep) def. No.3 Jaden Rocco (Harbor Creek) 6-0, 6-0
No. 1 Aaron Heinlein (McDowell) def. Dan Bargielski (McDowell) 6-2, 6-0