Plainview JFK’s Yuval Solomon became only the seventh player from Nassau County win to back-to-back New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) singles championships, beating Sean Wei of Yorktown 6-1, 6-2 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Saturday morning.
“I definitely wanted to defend my title. And I definitely wanted to join that list of the six greats from Nassau County,” said Solomon. “I just had to come out and play strong, serve big and take every point as they went.”
He did just that. As has been the key to his success over the last couple of years, Solomon snagged the early break in the final against Wei, doing so for the 2-0 lead in the opening set.
After consolidating the break with a hold, the senior built a comfortable advantage and would go on to win the set 6-1.
Solomon broke to begin the second set and quickly raced out 2-0. But Wei continued to fight and would hold to cut the lead to 1-2, and then won the first two points on Solomon’s serve in the second set’s fourth game.
But Solomon would rattle off four straight points from there to earn the hold and keep Wei at bay.
“He was getting confident, I saw that,” said Solomon. “It was really big to hold that game, go up 3-1 and keep the break. I didn’t want to give him anything to feel good about and get confidence from.”
A few games later, Solomon to wrap things up, firing his 22nd ace to convert on his first match point and clinch his second straight New York State title.
In the Federation Cup singles final, which pits the NYSPHSAA champion against the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) champion, Solomon defeated Beacon’s Ethan Leon 6-1, 6-1 in the final match of his high school career.
“He’s outgrown high school, and ready for the next step,” Plainview JFK head coach Nick Ventimiglia said of Solomon, who will be playing his college tennis at Wake Forest next year. “I’m most proud of the way he has grown emotionally. He was in the consolation final as a freshman, the state championship as a sophomore and that experience counts for something. You have to have it solid all the way through. He’s developed that. That’s as important as your forehand and your serve. And he’s done that.”
Despite losing his first-round match on Thursday, Half Hollow Hills East’s Abhinav Srivastava continued to fight and came through to win the consolation singles final with a 7-6(8), 6-1 victory over Adrien Conrads of Coxsackie-Athens.
In the NYSPHSAA doubles final, Horace Greeley’s Dylan Glickman and James Wei beat teammates Spencer Lowitz and Kenta Togo 6-4, 6-4 to capture the title.
“It means everything,” Glickman said. “We’ve been working hard all season and this is why we play, the ultimate goal of playing high school tennis and it feels unbelievable.”
Horace Greeley's James Wei celebrates a point. He and Dylan Glickman captured the NYSPHSAA doubles title.
In the third-place doubles match, Syosset’s Eli Grossman and Preet Rajpal defeated Roslyn’s Sangjin Song and Zach Khazzam 6-2, 6-4 in a rematch of the Nassau County doubles final.
“They switched their positions up a little bit, so that was something we had to adjust to,” said Grossman. “But the main thing was we had to keep our consistency.”
The junior duo will look to build off of this successful tournament run in hopes of returning to the state tournament a year from now.
“It shows us where we are compared to the best competition out there,” said Rajpal. “We want to have our names mentioned up there and be called New York State champions, so that’s going to push me and definitely a goal for us to work for.”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.