As a freshman last spring, Plainview JFK’s Yuval Solomon reached the Nassau County final before falling to Port Washington’s Ben Rosen.
This time around, now a sophomore, Solomon would not be denied, fighting off some tough competition and multiple rain delays to win the 2015 Nassau County Singles Title, beating another sophomore, Sewanhaka’s Keegan Morris, 6-1, 6-1 in the final at Oceanside High School.
The Nassau County Tournament was played on three different days over the course of a week due to multiple interruptions from Mother Nature. Despite the delays, Solomon never missed a beat, using his reach and athleticism to frustrate Morris in the final.
After the two exchanged holds through the first three games of the opening set, Solomon notched the match’s first break to jump ahead 3-1. He would break again in the sixth game to take a commanding 5-1 lead, and consolidated it with a hold of serve to take the first set 6-1.
Solomon opened the second set by breaking Morris yet again, and another break in the third game gave him a 3-0 advantage. The Sewanhaka sophomore tried to work himself back into the match, breaking Solomon to cut the deficit to 1-3, but momentum shifted to the Plainview sophomore as he broke right back to go ahead 4-1.
One more break in the final game gave Solomon the county title as he moved to 18-0 on the season in singles matches.
“Of course, last year was tough,” Solomon said of his loss in the County Finals last year. “I was very happy to win this year. And I’m proud. My coach and I worked very hard this season so I’m definitely happy.”
While the score line would imply that Solomon won the match easily, a lot of the points could have went either way. Morris played solid tennis throughout, firing what seemed to be a lot of winners down the lines, but each time Solomon was able to track balls down and get them back in, forcing Morris into some unforced errors.
“I know it’s frustrating for opponents,” said Solomon. “That’s why my coach always tells me, to run for every ball. We work hard, we run on the beach, we run on the court. I just try to run after every ball and it pays off.”
Both Solomon and Morris will be heading to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center next week to compete in the 2015 New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Championships. Brady Berman of Jericho, the third-place winner, will also be representing Long Island in the states.
In the doubles final, Syosset’s Daniel Shleimovich & Dylan Granat outlasted Cold Spring Harbor’s Sean Mullins & Patrick Hannity 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 to win the Nassau County championship.
The final two sets of this match were fiery and intense as each point became more and more meaningful. The turning point came as Syosset was up 2-1 in the second set when a backhand try by Hannity sailed long, giving Shleimovich and Granat a crucial break.
Another break point in the fifth game put the Syosset pair up 4-1, and they eventually served out the remainder of the set to force the county championship into a deciding third set.
“Every game is important, especially when the team is as good as they are with Sean & Patrick,” Shleimovich said of the key break in the second set. “I feel that the fact that we were able to break and even consolidate it with our serve was very important.”
As expected, the third set was extremely tight and bared witness to some fantastic tennis. Both squads traded holds to bring the set to 3-3 until Cold Spring Harbor nailed down the first break point of the set to take a 4-3 lead.
Cold Spring Harbor gave the break right back to Syosset thanks to a couple of double-faults, evening the set at 4-4. With momentum back with Shleimovich & Granat, they outlasted the Cold Spring Harbor pair in a long rally to break their serve and clinch the county championship.
Granat was in a familiar position last year when he paired up with then senior Henry Tell. The two lost a tough three-set match in the county tournament, an experience that helped him this time around.
“I think I’ve matured from that for this year,” said Granat. “I was able to calm Daniel down a little bit. He was getting frustrated a little bit. We both calmed down, got down to it and did what we needed to do.”
Along with the duos from Syosset and Cold Spring Harbor, Great Neck North’s Alan Delman & Simon Kashfi also advanced to states. Delman & Kashfi beat Syosset’s Spencer Lowitt & Nikhil Rajesh 7-5, 7-6(3) in the third-place match.
The state tournament begins on Thursday, May 28.
Credit all photos to Brian Coleman
Nassau County 2015 Doubles Champions Dylan Granat & Daniel Shleimovich of Syosset are headed to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Championships
Cold Spring Harbor's Patrick Hannity & Sean Mullins await a return in the Nassau County Doubles Championship
Sewanhaka's Keegan Morris rips a forehand during the 2015 Nassau County Singles Championship
Plainview's Yuval Solomon tracks down a ball en route to his Singles Championship victory
Syosset’s Daniel Shleimovich & Dylan Granat defeated Cold Spring Harbor’s Sean Mullins & Patrick Hannity 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 to win the 2015 Nassau County Championship
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.