Highland Park's Lin keeps his momentum

Highland Park's Lin keeps his momentum

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Highland Park's Lin keeps his momentum

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HAMILTON

Highland Park High School’s top-seeded Maverick Lin didn’t drop a game on his march to the third round of the NJSIAA Singles/Doubles Championship at Veterans Park on Saturday afternoon.

Lin, a sophomore with an unbeaten record this season (21-0) and the Greater Middlesex Conference title at first singles, trumped J.P. Stevens’ Gokul Murugesan 6-0, 6-0.

Hazy, hot and humid conditions didn’t make it easy – temperatures hovered around 90 degrees, heating the courts to uncomfortable levels.

“I think I played my best in the conditions given,” said Lin, who had a first-round bye. “It was also very windy. I played every point and focused on the point at hand. The wind was tough on my serve because you couldn’t hit the ball too hard in case it may fly out.”

Lin’s teammates didn’t fare as well. Thulani Hove, Highland Park’s second-singles ace, fell to Dean Koman of Millburn 6-3, 6-2 in the second round. He had made it past Peter Brennan of Kingsway 6-0, 6-1 earlier. And the first-doubles duo of Yang Xu and Jason Choi fell to Bernards’ Kevin Wallace and Andrew Wilford 6-0, 6-2.

“It’s great to have our two singles guys and our doubles team qualify for the individual tournament,” Highland Park coach Tim Stark said. “It’s a great opportunity to play against opponents we wouldn’t normally meet.”

Sophomore Sarthak Mohanty of J.P. Stevens beat Rahul Hingorani, who plays second singles for the Ridge, 7-6 (8), 6-2.

“I feel good,” said Mohanty, who earlier downed Paul Caruso of Holy Cross 6-3, 6-1. “It was a strong start and a good indicator for my next match. For the next round, I’m hoping to continue my consistency and to stay cool in the heat and adjust to the conditions.”

The Hawks’ doubles duo of Jessie Wu and Jason Kwan trumped A.L. Johnson’s team 6-3, 6-0.

Also advancing was South Brunswick’s doubles team of Surya Prabhakar and Larry Liu, after defeating Leonia in a tight three-setter: 6-3, 5-7, 10-4.

“It feels pretty good to win,” said Prabhakar. “We had some struggles in the second set, but we were able to pull it out in the tiebreak, so that’s good.”

His partner echoed the sentiment.

“Well, it’s the first time that we’re in the state (individual) tournament,” Liu said. “We’ll feel more confident since we’re out here in this weather and made it through.”

The Vikings had five players in the state tournament, including first-singles ace Dylan Karchere-Sun, who advanced at Mercer County Park in West Windsor.

Dunellen’s doubles team of Martee Seraspe and Matt Palka fell 6-4, 6-4 to rivals from Haddon Township.

“I think even if you’re down and the odds are against you, you still have a chance to pull through,” said Palka, whose team came back after being down 2-5 down in the first set and 1-5 in the second set, but lost.

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