Coronado sophomore Sebastian Frace wasn’t satisfied with his Class 4A boys doubles state tournament appearance in 2016. He wanted a chance to play singles.
And he got one this season.
Frace toppled teammate Zac Sullivan 7-6(0), 6-1 to win the 4A Sunrise Region singles championship Saturday morning at Darling Tennis Center.
First-year Cougars coach David Willingham said he was torn watching his two star players square off. Thankfully for Willingham, they’ll both be playing in next weekend’s state tournament.
“I root for good tennis,” Willingham said. “I told both of them before the match started, ‘I’m not your coach today. Today you’re on your own. I’ll coach you after the match.’ … As a coach, when you have two players playing like that, all you want to see is great effort.”
Frace was excited to qualify for state in doubles last season, at which he lost in the quarterfinals. He shifted his focus to singles in the offseason with hopes of qualifying for state.
“Before the season started, I really wanted to play singles,” Frace said. “I worked at it … I talked to (Willingham) about playing singles.”
Clark sophomore Artem Iermolov will be joining Frace at the 4A state tournament. He outlasted Axel Boticelli 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a 2½-hour match to win the Sunset Regional championship.
“I try to stay focused. I try to stay composed,” Iermolov said of playing in lengthy matches. “Don’t get distracted … Eventually pull it up.”
Iermolov plays on the national tennis circuit and has earned a four-star rating from the Tennis Recruiting Network. He is in the midst of his first year of high school tennis, and said he’s played against a lot of local competition during national tournament play.
“The first four seeds, they played tournaments like nationals with me, too. We know each other, we play a lot,” Iermolov said. “It feels good to win this tournament, but I was expecting to get first place here.”
Western sophomore Rua Elmore coasted to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Boulder City’s Connor Mikkelson in the Class 3A Southern Region.
Elmore qualified for the state tournament last season and said he’s more prepared for a second go-around after struggling as a freshman.
“I’m playing good tennis,” Elmore said. “I feel like it’s building up to delivering on the promise I made earlier in the season — do well at state.”
Foothill’s Stefan Sretenovic and Travis Weber defeated Ben Lieberman and Ryan Elezra of Green Valley, 6-3, 6-4 to win the Class 4A Sunrise Regional doubles championship.
They will be joined at the state tournament by Clark’s Michael Pasimio and Simran Shah, who outlasted Palo Verde’s Jayden Atkin and Sam Soderborg 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to win the Class 4A Sunset Region.
Boulder City’s Preston Jorgensen and Boen Huxford won the Class 3A Southern Region doubles title with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Ryan Chang and Brian Capp of The Meadows.
Contact reporter Sam Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.