HENDERSONVILLE An established veteran and a newcomer met in the boys championship match of District 9-AAA Individual Tennis Tournament, and it finished with a familiar result.
Prior to the championship match, Richardson lost only one service game, and that was due to a penalty after he showed up late for his opening-round match against Lebanon’s Ben Brashear.Hendersonville High senior Kato Richardson won his third consecutive singles title on Wednesday afternoon, handing Station Camp senior Nathan Watson a 6-1, 6-0 setback in the title match at Memorial Park.
“I was about four minutes late, but it wasn’t too bad,” Richardson said. “I was just able to keep it steady after that.”
Richardson – a Tennessee State University signee – rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Wilson Central freshman Michael Mercante, the No. 4 seed, in the Wednesday’s semifinal round.
Richardson is seeking to advance to the Class AAA State Tournament for the third consecutive season. Last season, he defeated Siegel senior Taylor Graalman in the first round before suffering a straight-set loss to Science Hill junior Andrew Morton in the semifinals.
“I’ve just been playing matches and tournaments (to prepare for postseason play),” Richardson said. “I’ve worked on staying consistent.”
Watson – in his first season on the Bison tennis team – was seeded third and advanced to the final with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Beech senior Robert Balgemann, the No. 2 seed, in the semifinals. He faced Richardson for the first time in the championship match as he was seeded lower in Station Camp’s lineup when the two teams played during the regular season.
“I noticed that (Richardson) was really accurate with all his shots,” Watson said. “If I hit a floater, he would smack, and he’d make me move around a lot. Usually, I’m good with getting to a lot of balls, but with Kato, he smacks it.”
It was Watson’s first tournament experience.
“I was a little nervous at first, because I had never played in a tournament before,” Watson said. “I just played round-for-round and point-for-point.”
Both players advance to the Region 5-AAA Tournament.
Mt. Juliet’s doubles teams each advanced to the Region 5-AAA Tournament after straight-set victories in the semifinal round. The top-seeded team of Dylan Chambers and Josh Walker defeated Hendersonville sophomores Garrett Franklin and Jackson Kinsler (6-0, 6-0), while Matt Haynes and Dylan Smith – who were unseeded – defeated Beech sophomore Chase Dorris and junior Cooper Presley (6-4, 6-4) to reach the final.
A rain delay halted activity for more than two hours, and Mt. Juliet’s coaching staff elected to postpone the championship match until Friday and to play it at Mt. Juliet High.
Reach Chris Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter @CB_SumnerSports.
District 9-AAA Boys Individual Tennis Tournament
Round of 16: No. 1 seed Kato Richardson (Hendersonville) d. Ben Brashear (Lebanon) 6-1, 6-0; Ethan Johnston (Mt. Juliet) d. Caden Brown (Gallatin) 6-1, 6-1; Eli Duncan (Beech) d. Doug Davis (Portland) 6-1, 6-2; No. 4 Michael Mercante (Wilson Central) d. Caleb Stevin (Station Camp) 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Nathan Watson (Station Camp) d. Giovanni Santos (Lebanon) 6-2, 6-0; Luke Jacob (Hendersonville) d. Andrew Denning (Wilson Central) 6-2, 6-1; Cam Walker (Mt. Juliet) d. Justin White (Gallatin) 6-3, 6-2; No. 2 Robert Balgemann (Beech) d. Jimmy Davis (Portland) 6-4, 6-0. Quarterfinals: Richardson (H) d. Johnston (MJ) 6-0, 6-0; Mercante (WC) d. Duncan (B) 7-5, 6-1; Watson (SC) d. Jacob (H) 6-2, 6-0; Balgemann (B) d. Walker (MJ) 6-1, 6-2. Semifinals: Richardson (H) d. Mercante (WC) 6-0, 6-0; Watson (SC) d. Balgemann (B) 6-2, 6-0. Finals; Richardson (H) d. Watson (SC) 6-1, 6-0.
Round of 16: No. 1 Dylan Chambers/Josh Walker (Mt. Juliet) d. John Kelley/Eli Teel (Lebanon) 6-1, 6-1; Jackson Cook/Evan Savaloja (Station Camp) d. Alan Hickson/Noah Miller (Gallatin) 6-3, 6-1; Chase McElfresh/Akbar Rahmani (Wilson Central) d. Lonnie White/Elijah Woody (Portland) 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Garrett Franklin/Jackson Kinsler (Hendersonville) d. Garrett Boling/Drew McLaurine (Beech) 7-5, 6-2; No. 3 Reece Gaddes/Houston Wood (Wilson Central) d. Austin Bible/Robert Smith (Station Camp) 6-2, 6-2; Matt Haynes/Dylan Smith (Mt. Juliet) d. Chris Betancur/Thomas Latimer (Portland) 6-1, 6-1; Tyler Garvin/Kaleb Jasper (Lebanon) d. Houston Haynes/Jake White (Gallatin) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; No. 2 Chase Dorris/Cooper Presley (Beech) d. Thomas Kohann/Stephen Pate (Hendersonville) by default. Quarterfinals: Chambers/Walker (MJ) d. Cook/Savaloja (SC) 6-1, 6-0; Franklin/Kinsler (H) d. McElfresh/Rahmani (WC) 6-2, 6-4; Haynes/Smith (MJ) d. Gaddes/Wood (WC) 6-3, 6-1; Dorris/Presley (B) d. Garvin/Jasper (L) 6-0, 6-3. Semifinals: Chambers/Walker (MJ) d. Franklin/Kinsler (H) 6-0, 6-0; Haynes/Smith (MJ) d. Dorris/Presley (B) 6-4, 6-4. Friday’s final (at Mt. Juliet High School): Chambers/Walker (MJ) vs. Haynes/Smith (MJ)