After cruising to a 6-0 first set win in the PIAA Class AAA doubles championships on May 25 at Hershey Racquet Club, it looked like Shady Side Academy's Alok Nimgaonkar and Chris Grubbs would end a five-year WPIAL drought and bring home the gold.
Their hopes were quickly dashed, however, as they fell to West Chester Rustin's John Lim and Derek Summers, 0-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Nimgaonkar and Grubbs jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set but couldn't close it out.
For awhile, it looked like it might be an all-WPIAL final as Fox Chapel's Ben Short and Sid Rajupet nearly knocked off Lim and Summers in the semifinals.
They lost in a three-set heartbreaker by scores of 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (11-9).
Shady Side Academy coach Tom Mercer, despite the loss, was upbeat about the season.
“They made it to the finals,” he said. “As a team, we made it to the finals, so it was a very rewarding season. We nearly reached all of our goals but came up short. A lot of teams would love to have the season we had.
“The doubles match was frustrating, though. We started out playing very well. I think their guys were a little bit off of their game after that tense semifinal match but they rebounded nicely and we started making some errors.
“Give them credit, though. We have a strong nucleus coming back and we hope to be in the same position next year.”
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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