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Saddlebrook eliminated from state tourney

For the first time in recent years, Saddlebrook Academy was sent home early in the first day of the Class 3A state tennis tournament.

The boys scored three points and the girls took two in Tuesday's opening rounds, but were eliminated in the semifinals. Delray Beach All-Star Academy, a first-year school in state competition, leads the boys tournament with 10 points, while Bradenton Academy and Miami Ransom Everglades share the girls' lead at 11 points.

Saddlebrook did not play many of its top players this season. The school has had several nationally-ranked juniors in the past and has often had difficulty scheduling matches.

Neither the Saddlebrook boys or girls teams has anyone remaining in today's later rounds. The boys started out strong though, winning three of their first-round singles matches before faltering in the semifinal rounds.

Yasu Minoda (No. 1 singles), Ahmed Wahla (No. 3 singles) and Rahul Rajkhewa (No. 5) all won their first singles matches.

"We also drew (three-time defending state champion) Bradenton Academy in the first round of both doubles and lost," said Saddlebrook boys coach Michael Summers. "But that's just the luck of the draw. The kids all enjoyed themselves and this was a good opportunity."

The Saddlebrook girls were led by No. 2 Katie Thompson, who defeated Jacksonville Bolles' Arden Fredeking 7-5, 6-0 in the first round before being eliminated by All-Star's Jessica Lehnhoff 6-0, 6-1.

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