The Public School Athletic League (PSAL) held its individual tournament for both boys and girls at Queens College, with high school tennis players from New York City competing for a chance to participate in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) championships.
The winners, runner-ups and third place winners of each tournament (Boys Singles, Girls Singles, Boys Doubles and Girls Doubles) earned a spot in the state championships.
In Boys Singles, the title match was a rematch of an epic semifinal from last year’s draw, as Cardozo senior Marcus Smith took on close friend and fellow senior Felipe Ossess-Konig of Beacon.
The two split the first two sets, forcing the match into a deciding third frame. After Osses-Konig went up a break to go up 2-1, Smith countered to even the set up at 2-2. From there, Smith’s game picked up and he was able to win the final four games to take the deciding set 6-2.
In the third-place match, Townsend Harris senior Ethan Nittolo battled with Susan B. Wagner freshman Shawn Jackson. Nittolo was looking to rebound from a tough loss to Osses-Konig in the semis, and did so against Jackson. While the freshman displayed excellent tennis, Nittolo’s experience and aggressiveness proved to be too much, helping him to win 6-1, 6-4.
Smith, Osses-Konig and Nittolo will be the singles representatives for the PSAL at the state championships.
In the boy’s doubles final, Brooklyn Tech senior William Trang and junior Phillip Raytburg took on a pair of underclassmen from McKee/Staten Island Tech: Freshman Kemal Aziz and sophomore Christopher Kolesnik.
Trang & Raytburg finished as runner-ups in last year’s tournament, but would not be denied this time around. The Brooklyn Tech duo won 6-3, 6-4 to punch their ticket in the state tournament.
In the third-place match, senior Michael Pisarek and junior Daniel Usvyat of Hunter High School defeated Brooklyn Tech juniors Bojidar Todorov and Denis Korol.
As runner-ups, Kolesnik and Aziz, along with third-place finishers Pisarek & Usvyat, will be at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), set for May 28-30.
On the girl’s side, senior Sofia Pascual & junior Michelle Khaimov of Beacon took on a pair of juniors from Stuyvesant, Amanda Chiu & Kimberly Chow, in the semifinals.
After rolling into the semis, the top-seeded duo of Pascual & Khaimov got a strong test from the Stuyvesant pair. The top-seeds managed to get through with a hard-fought 10-7 victory and booked a spot in the tournament’s final.
In the other semifinal, sophomores Klara Wichterle & Alana Rosenthal of Bronx Science took on senior Taylor Rubin & junior Nicole Babayev of Francis Lewis. Wichterle & Rosenthal would come out victorious, pulling out a 10-2 victory to reach the finals.
The Beacon duo of Pascual & Khaimov proved to be too tough for Wichterle & Rosenthal, beating the Bronx Science pair by a score of 6-1, 6-1 in the final, booking their spot in the state championships. As runner-ups, Wichterle and Rosenthal also will represent PSAL in the state tournament.
In the third-place matchup, Rubin & Babayev earned the final PSAL spot in the state championships with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Chiu & Chow.
In the girls singles final, which is being played after this edition went to press, Cardozo senior Sabrina Xiong will take on Bronx Science junior Brianna Williams.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org