Doubles team wins D-11 crown
Egor Ivanov had experienced the big stage of a district final before. The senior has played in the Class AAA District 11 doubles championship game each of the last three years, winning once in 2012. His partner the last two years, Richie Lichtenwalner, has since graduated, and Ivanov now plays the leadership role guiding a freshman Nick Kshatri into the tournament.
"Nick is only a freshman, so obviously he's not as experienced as Richie was," Ivanov said. "I think he held together well, and was confident throughout the match and we closed it out well."
The Parkland duo breezed through the first four rounds, not losing a set, and only giving up three games at the most in a set. Ironically, the road to the final also went through a familiar pairing. In the quarterfinal round, Ivanov/Kshatri defeated Peter Harrison and Marcus Spiegel. The Trojans then took down Matt FitzMaurice and Rowan Hobson of Emmaus in the final, 6-4, 6-2.
The No. 1 seed needed to close out well against the No. 3 seed Green Hornets.
Trailing 3-1 in the first set, Ivanov and Kshatri decided to start charging the net to return service, instead of playing back by the baseline. Their quick and hard-hit returns proved too much for FitzMaurice/Hobson, as the Trojans took five of the next six games to win the first set.
"Rowan and Matt are both good hitters from the baseline," noted Ivanov. "We had to focus on getting our first serves in. The experience helped. I just knew we had to change our strategy and stay confident. I'm really proud of Nick that he was able to do that."
"I think that being a freshman, I was a little nervous," said Kshatri. "But when I settled down it was easier. It was good to have Egor as a teammate. He has so much experience."
Parkland continued to dominate. Ivanov and Kshatri took the first three games of the second set, and were not really challenged in taking set two 6-2, and the title.
Ivanov is now 2-2 in his four year career in the AAA doubles final. They will move on to the state doubles tournament after competing in this week's District 11 team tournament, in which the Trojans are the top seed. If they reach Saturday's Class AAA team final, they will play the gold medal matches Saturday at 2 p.m. at West End Racquet Club.
In last week's doubles tournament, Parkland had three pairings make the field.
Harrison and Speigel won two matched on Friday's opening day to advance to Saturday's quarterfinal against their Trojan teammates.
The team of Nishad Gothoskar and Nate Lyman also won two matches on Friday. They ran into Hobson and FitzMaurice in them quarterfinal match.