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4A state tennis: Pinellas doubles teams find the going too tough

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Thu. April 21, 2011 | Bob Putnam | Email

4A state tennis: Pinellas doubles teams find the going too tough

The entire Pinellas County boys and girls singles contingent was eliminated Wednesday at the Class 2A and 4A state tennis tournaments.

That left two doubles teams as the only hope for titles at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs — and both had a tough time Thursday.
St. Petersburg’s Edward Corty and Robert Dvorak lost in Thursday’s 4A semifinals to William Albanese and Brandon Waked of Miami Parkland Douglas 6-3, 6-3.

“We were a little bit slow,” Green Devils coach Todd St. Louis said. “Edward played a lot of games the past few days. But we battled and were ahead in the second set. They just kept chipping away at us.

“It was just one of those days where the other team was on.”

In the 4A girls bracket, Countryside’s Angel Deng and Alex Kitchen also lost in the semifinals to top-seeded Alexis Aranda and Alexa Ricci of Lake Mary 7-5, 6-2.

Pinellas players may have had a tough outing, but one bay area team did bring home top honors — in improbable fashion.

The Plant girls arrived at Sanlando Park on Thursday morning resigned to the fact that they were out of team title contention.
Reality hit the Panthers quickly Wednesday with four of five first-round losses in singles. They had stopped looking at the team standings. Their goal was to end up seventh in the eight-team field.

But the Panthers, who began the morning in last place, won all five of their possible matches to complete a remarkable comeback and claim their second state team title in three seasons outright, edging Day 1 leader Sarasota Riverview 9-8.

“We weren’t just going to give up, but we thought we were completely shut out,” said Plant junior Natalie Franklin. “We got a second chance, and when it comes to tennis, you never get a second chance. Honestly, it feels like a dream right now.”

Staff writer Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this report.

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