Caesar Rodney’s Rishi Gundakaram reversed last year’s state championship result, defeating Tower Hill’s Robby Ward 6-4, 6-2 to win the 2018 DIAA Boys Tennis Championship.
The two players were a combined 23-0 this season coming into the final, and it was an even opening set before a late break allowed Gundakaram to win 6-4, giving him the momentum.
Gundakaram took control quickly in the second set, using a combination of long rallies, drop shots, and even a lob on championship point to seal the victory.
The team points he earned proved vital, as Caesar Rodney went on to edge host Saint Andrew’s by a single point, 20-19, in the team title.
Saint Andrew’s had a big day themselves, winning both doubles titles, with John McKee and Will Park winning 6-1, 6-3 over CR at first doubles, and Cole Kay and William Weaver upending a Sanford pair 7-5, 6-4 at second doubles.
Caesar Rodney found themselves needing to match Saint Andrew’s victory total to claim the title, and Gundakaram’s win was matched by a three-set victory by Garrett Wrede at 3rd singles 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 over Saint Andrew’s Gus Richards, in a vital match in the team standings.
The match of the tournament went to second singles, as Tatnall’s Seth Friedlander, a No. 6 seed, battled CR’s David Haynes in a 3:32 battle over three sets.
Haynes fought cramping in the final set, but was able to keep extending the match, but ultimately it was Friedlander winning a 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 marathon for a state championship.