The Suffolk County Individual Championships were held Tuesday at Smithtown East High School, and the day belonged to Half Hollow Hills East, as a record seven of their players qualified for the State Championships. Leading the way for Hills East were Singles Champion Zain Ali and Doubles Champions Kyle Alper & Jeff Cherkin.
In singles play, Ali came in as the top seed, but he had a "monkey on his back" as he had never advanced past the semifinals in his previous trips to the Counties. After a few near misses, Ali, now a junior, didn't want to let this opportunity pass him by. Looking to take the next step this year, Ali was focused and it showed. In the semifinals, he faced Cooper Lacetera of Westhampton and won in straight sets 6-2, 7-5. That moved him in to the finals and a showdown with second-seeded Brandon Stone of Whitman, who defeated Sayville's Tyler Hoffman in the semis. In the finals, Ali played well from start to finish, never dropping his serve and defeated Stone 6-3. 6-2.
Ali, Stone and Hoffman all earned bids to the 2013 New York State Individual Boys High School Tennis Championships as Hoffman defeated Lacetera 6-3, 6-1 to get third place.
The doubles draw saw a clean sweep for Hills East, including an all-Hills East final. Alper & Cherkin left no doubt as to who the Suffolk Doubles Champions are, as they defeated teammates Travis Leaf & Ross Reiffman in impressive fashion, 6-1, 6-0. The four Hills East finalists, along with teammates Roger Chang and Michael Leffler who finished third earned the right to compete at the State Championships.
The 2013 New York State Individual Boys High School Tennis Championships will be played May 30th-June 1st at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.