Ambidextrous Gupta wins Fossil Ridge’s first boys tennis title

Fossil Ridge freshman Akhil Gupta celebrates winning a No. 3 state title, the first in SaberCats history.

Fossil Ridge freshman Akhil Gupta celebrates winning a No. 3 state title, the first in SaberCats history.

DENVER — Akhil Gupta never showed the emotion of the moment.

A fist pump here and there were the only flashes that gave away the importance of his No. 3 singles match.

Then the Fossil Ridge High School freshman won the final point and thrust his hands into the air with a huge smile on his face.

A state champion; the first boys tennis title in school history.

“It’s pretty cool, I guess,” Gupta said, a humble understatement of the moment.

Don’t let the lack of a dramatic statement hide how much it meant, not just to Gupta, but his team.

Right after finishing off his 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 3 singles over Denver East’s Bryce Viorst, Gupta’s teammates swarmed him, trading high fives all around. They even convinced him to throw in a quick dab in celebration.

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“It’s amazing to see him stay so focused as such a young kid,” a beaming coach Steve Schultz said at a sunny Gates Tennis Center.

Gupta is just 14 years old. He faced two seniors, a sophomore and a freshman as he rolled through the state tournament, winning all four matches in straight sets and became one of the talks of the tournament because of his unique style where he uses both left- and right-handed forehands.

It’s incredibly rare to see an ambidextrous tennis player, especially one with such success.

Gupta finished the season unbeaten at No. 3 singles, 22-0.

He says he didn’t know until the start of the state tournament that Fossil Ridge had never won a tennis title.

He battled some nerves in Friday’s win over powerhouse Cherry Creek. He felt a little pressure before Saturday morning’s match, but it never showed as he cruised to a win.

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“I usually get nervous before my finals matches, but I’ve kind of learned how to deal with it better,” Gupta said. “Playing a lot of matches has helped with that.”

Gupta’s teammates Aaron Hargis and Cam Salz dropped their third-place match to Fairview on Saturday, finishing fourth at No. 3 doubles.

As a team, Fossil Ridge finished fifth with 24 points. Cherry Creek won the Class 5A title.

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