| By Adam Wolfthal
Photo credit: Adam Wolfthal

Day Three of the 2012 NYSPHSAA Boys Tennis Championships brought many hard-fought matches and great victories. Due to the poor weather of the weekend, the final matches were played indoors at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Defending NYSPHSAA Boys Singles Champion, Josh Levine of Cold Spring Harbor, drew fourth-seeded Taiya Hamanaka of Eastchester in the semifinals. This matchup looked to be a tough battle, as Hamanaka was yet to drop a set in the tournament, and came out swinging, taking the first set from Levine. Fighting his way back, Levine picked up the second set handily 6-1, and forced a third set, played as a 10-point super tie-breaker. After going down early, Levine fought back for a 10-8 victory and a spot in the finals to defend his title.

The other semifinals matchup was an all-Nassau County affair as Andrew Yaraghi of Friends Academy faced Vihar Shah of Herricks who had already successfully taken out the third-seeded 2012 Suffolk County Champion, Jeremy Dubin in the first round. Yaraghi was able to keep up his blistering pace and make it to the finals without dropping a set in the tournament, defeating Shah 6-3, 6-4.

The doubles tournament semifinals was full of suspense and drama. All three of the final matches (both the semifinals and finals) were brought to third-set super tie-breakers. The top-seeded team from Long Beach of Matt Barry & Ethan Bogard squared off against the fifth-seeded team of Daniel Morgan & Doug Kaplan of Pelham. Neither team had given up a set yet in the tournament and the Long Beach duo had let up only eight games in three matches. After trading sets, Morgan & Kaplan were able to squeeze out the victory with a 10-6 upset in the super tie-break.

The second semifinal featured 2012 New York City Champs Lucas Pickering & Winn Smith of Beacon facing Matt Levine & Alex Meyer of Byram Hills. After giving up the first set by one crucial break of serve, Beacon scrapped back with a 6-3 second set victory and 10-6 win in the deciding third set tie-break.

As the courts inside filled up for regularly-scheduled matches and practice play, the final matches would be played in the intimate setting of Courts 11 & 12 indoors at the National Tennis Center, as teammates, families, fans and supporters all packed in to the observation deck above the courts.

The 2012 NYSPHSAA Boys Singles Finals were set to be a rematch of the Nassau County Championship match. Only 35 minutes after winning the super tie-breaker in the semifinals, Josh Levine had to take the court against a familiar foe, Andrew Yaraghi. In an impressive display of calm and collected play both physically and emotionally, Levine defended his title with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Yaraghi. According to Josh, “I felt I served very well, played smart, played my game, didn’t go for anything big, and got it done.”

The final match of the Doubles Championship was played by the teams from Pelham and Beacon, schools that, despite being in different Sections, are a mere 15 miles from one another. After taking a commanding lead in the first set, breaking Beacon in every serve game, Pelham’s Morgan & Kaplan took the first set 6-2, and looked to have the match in hand. Pickering & Smith had other ideas, fighting back to bring the second set to a tie-break and win it 8-6. The third set super tie-break saw Beacon open up with an early mini-break to go up 6-4. Pelham fought back to win four straight points to take the lead to 9-7 and eventually finished off Beacon with an 8-10 victory.

Click here to view the final 2012 NYSPHSAA Boys Tennis Championship Singles bracket.

Click here to view the final 2012 NYSPHSAA Boys Tennis Championship Doubles bracket.

Credit all photos to Adam Wolfthal

Cold Spring Harbor's Josh Levine takes on Taiya Hamanaka of Eastchester in the semifinals of the 2012 NYSPHSAA Boys Tennis Championships


Lucas Pickering & Winn Smith of Beacon in the 2012 NYSPHSAA Boys Doubles Finals


Andrew Yaraghi of Friends Academy 


Josh Levine (second from right) is congratulated by his family after his 2012 NYSPHSAA Championship win