Commack’s Eddie Liao put a bow on his dominant freshman season on Saturday, winning the Suffolk County singles title by way of a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Harborfields junior Chris Qi at Smithtown East High School.
“It feels amazing,” said Liao. “I’ve always wanted to win this tournament, and so to finally be able to do it feels great.”
Liao had not dropped a match all season long as he helped guide his Commack squad to an undefeated regular season and the top-seed in the playoffs. He was tested in the second set by Qi, who took a 4-3 advantage, but Liao rattled off the next three games of the set to close out the match in straight sets.
Harborfields' Christopher Qi battled hard to reach the Suffolk County singles final.
“I think the key was just being patient, and my serve was a big weapon for me today,” Liao added. “[Christopher] is a very good friend of mine and we know each other pretty well, so to play against him was a nice rivalry I guess.”
In the doubles final, the Ward Melville duo of Matthew Kronenberg & Gabe Bursztyn knocked off Hills East’s Michael Han & Atreya Rawat, the event’s top seeds, 6-2, 7-5.
“I think it took a lot of focus and concentration to stay in the match and keep our energy levels up,” said Kronenberg. “After you win a set, it’s easy to let your focus slip a little bit so it was really important that we were able to stay within our game and continue doing the things that were working. It was difficult, but we pulled through and that’s what it matters.”
Ward Meville's Gabe Bursztyn & Matthew Kronenberg celebrate a point during the county doubles final.
After playing a dominant first set, the Ward Melville pair let its guard down a bit which allowed the Hills East duo to work its way back into the match.
“They started playing well in the second and started to come back, which got us frustrated and we started missing more,” added Bursztyn. “But we were able to pull it out, put our heads down and just focus on finishing.”
Ward Melville head coach Erik Sussin echoed those sentiments, and was proud of the way his players responded to close out the match in straight sets.
“They dominated that first set quite well. They stepped into the net when they needed to and served really well. The second set was much closer, they really stepped up their game, and I think we saw the finish line way too early,” said Sussin. “But our guys were able to close it out. In the end, we were the better team and we were glad to come away with the win.”