Central Catholic's Blasinsky, Vincentian's Chen win WPIAL singles titles
Central Catholic junior Adam Blasinsky isn't the most talkative tennis player and is quite reserved on and off the court.
His play, however, speaks volumes.
Blasinsky, the tournament's top seed, was in control throughout and defeated Mt. Lebanon junior Peter Hazlett, 6-2, 6-1, to win his first WPIAL Class AAA singles title Tuesday at Lakeview Athletic Club in Valencia.
“It really meant a lot to the school and to me, especially after losing in the semis last year, so I thought this year I'd go all the way,” Blasinsky said. “I'm always an aggressive player, and I've played him before in USTA tournaments and stuff like that. And I knew he would come to the net, so I had to be ready for it and hit him with passing shots.”
Blasinsky anticipated almost every move Hazlett made and consistently forced him to play shots at his feet. Hazlett came up with several outstanding returns, but was consistently frustrated throughout the match and was left shaking his head on several occasions as returns went screaming down the line as he approached the net.
“I do whatever I can to win and I tried to serve-and-volley a lot, but at the end of the day he was way more competitive against my service games and, against his, I was barely getting a return,” Hazlett said. “Toward the end, I was trying to move him around more side to side and was playing defensively, but he was just hitting at my feet every time and it just wasn't that effective.”
Both players had already earned spots in the PIAA singles finals, which will be held May 24-25 at Hershey Racquet Club. The top two players in Class AAA and the top three in Class AA move on to the state championships.
Coming into the tournament both Class AA finalists, Daniel Chen of Vincentian and Thomas Jefferson senior Jake Mascaro had to be considered long shots to even make it into the state tournament much less play for the title. Chen came into the WPIAL finals seeded fourth while Mascaro was seventh, but both came up with huge upsets in the first day of the event to both earn slots in the PIAA finals and the right to play for their first WPIAL title.
This time, there wasn't an upset as the higher seeded sophomore made short work of Mascaro for a 6-1, 6-0 victory to capture his first WPIAL Class AA crown.
“I just came out and tried to play like I did (Monday) and not make any mistakes and make him make all the errors,” Chen said.
Bentworth's Matt Lynch, the No. 1 seed, earned the final state playoff spot when he defeated third-seeded Bargo Patel of Greensburg Central Catholic, 6-1, 6-4, in the third-place consolation match.
“I had a brutal match, almost three-and-a-half hours and three sets (Monday), and I wanted to come out here and regain composure,” said Lynch, who lost in the 2012 consolation final. “I knew top three go to states and that was my goal since last year.”