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East Ridge boys tennis players will get their first taste ever of state next month at the University of Minnesota. (Staff photo by Mike Longaecker)

East Ridge tennis: State berth a first for Raptors

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The East Ridge boys tennis team made history last week.

For the first time in school history, the team advanced to the state tournament. The No. 1 seeded Raptors advanced to the big show by edging No. 3-seeded Eastview on Wednesday, May 21.

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East Ridge got big wins at No. 2-4 singles and at No. 1 doubles to give the Raptors a 4-3 win in the Section 3AA finals.

The state tournament begins June 3 at the University of Minnesota’s Baseline Center. Tournament seedings had not been determined by the Bulletin’s press deadline.

In the finals match, the Raptors’ three singles winners all won in straight sets, while No. 1 singles player Anuraag Bukkuri lost in a three-set super-breaker match. No. 2 player Ben Van der Sman topped Eshan Varma 6-4, 6-3, while Vishaal Gupta beat David Lu 6-3, 6-3. East Ridge’s No. 4 player, Nikhil Gupta, defeated his opponent 6-1, 6-1.

On the doubles side, the No. 1 pairing of Greg Sharrow and Evan Lu bested their opponents in a 6-2, 6-0 victory. East Ridge’s No 2-3 doubles teams both lost in three-set matches.

The Raptors advanced to the finals by beating No. 5-seeded Eagan, which they did with relative ease.

East Ridge saw wins in all but No. 1 singles, with Van der Sman, Vishaal Gupta and Nikhil Gupta earning straight-set victories.

The Sharrow/Lu team topped its No. 1 doubles opponent in straight sets – losing just one game in the entire match – while the Nigatu/Pratt team battled to a 6-4, 7-6(5) win. East Ridge’s No. 3 doubles team of Cormac Dolezal and Tim Holzing won its match 6-2, 6-3.

Before taking the state stage, East Ridge players began individual section competition, which kicked off last week and continued through Wednesday, May 28.

Van der Sman, the seventh seed in the tournament, faced No. 2 seed Anshul Bharath of Roseville on Tuesday.

Unseeded Nihkil Gupta advanced to the third round, where he played on Tuesday against No. 1 individual seed Zach Ekstein of Eagan.

Individual sections also include a doubles portion.

East Ridge advanced its No. 4-seeded team of Sharrow and Bukkuri to the quarterfinals, where they faced the No. 5 seed – Eastview – on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the No. 7 seeded pairing of Nigatu and Vishaal Gupta played No. 2 Woodbury (Ben Sajevic and Joey Shubert) on Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

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Michael Longaecker
Mike Longaecker is editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. His coverage includes local crime, legislative activity and prep sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
(651) 702-0973
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