Antonio Mora is on his way.
The Ransom Everglades senior improved to 11-0 after knocking off Dion
Loutas from Land O’ Lakes Academy 6-1, 6-1 at the Lakes in the Class 1A singles state tennis tournament quarterfinal on Monday at Sanlando Park.
Mora, the top seed, will face Winter Park Circle Christian’s John Lies in the semifinal Tuesday with a berth in the state championship match going to the winner. Officials estimate the singles final will begin around 11 a.m.
“I thought I was hitting my ground strokes pretty well, but I was struggling on my serve and then it just started working in the end,” said Mora, who signed with Emory University in Atlanta. “It was pretty hot out and the last time I played was regionals and I had been sick.”
Also in 1A singles, Calvary Christian’s Michael Mendez advanced to the semifinals after beating Jack Ledford from St. PetersburgShorecrest Prep 6-1, 6-1. He will play St. PetersburgNorthside Christian’s James Cortes.
In doubles, Mora and Grant Dill advanced to the finals after beating Lies and Camp Priest in the semis 6-0, 6-4. They will play St. Stephens tandem Max Damm and Kevin Jiang, who advanced after beating Mendez and Sebastian Stam 3-6, 7-5 (10-7) in a long-grueling semifinal.
In 1A team play, Miami Country Day boys topped Benjamin School 5-0 and advanced into Tuesday’s semifinals to face Sarasota Out-of-Door Academy.
After a two-year hiatus, crossover matches have returned to the FHSAA state finals, allowing the individual state champion to play the top No. 1 player out of the team competition for the overall state championship.
Mora was a member of Ransom Everglades team state championship last year, and now the crossover competition has him excited about the possibilities.
“It’s exciting, just one extra match and I could be a double state champion. That would be pretty cool. If we win in doubles and I win both singles, I could have four state championship medals,” he said.
In 1A girls, Westminster Christian’s Sarah Fernandez reached the singles semifinals after beating Benjamin’sTatianaZiff 6-0, 7-5. Calvary Christian’s CaitlynKahn defeated Miami Country Day’s AllexiiBassette 6-1, 7-5 in a first-round matchup but later was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
In doubles, Bassette and Gabriela Martinez fell in the opening round 6-1, 1-6, 11-9 to Eden Leder and Jessica Siegel from Donna Klein Jewish Academy.
In the girls’ team brackets, Carrollton moved into the semifinals after blanking Holy Trinity 4-1 and will face St. Andrews next.
In Class 3A boys at Sylvan Lake Park, Belen Jesuit senior Carlos Grande jumped into the 3A singles semifinals after a first-round bye and an injury default by quarterfinals opponent Jefferson Hobb from Niceville.
He will face Viera’sGabe Diaz in the semifinals Tuesday. in the first meeting between them. The winner will advance to the state title match. Diaz advanced after eliminating Edward Luca from Mourning 6-0, 6-2.
“I am excited but I know he is a lefty so that is something to watch out for and I will have to change my game a little bit,” said Grande, who was a member of Jesuit’s team championship last year and is ranked 10th in Florida by the USTA.
In 3A doubles, Grande and Sebastian Velez advanced into the semifinals after topping Niceville’s Hobbs and Jack Mills 6-3, 6-4.
In doubles, Luca and partner David Pedersen were eliminated in a first-round match by Ocala Vanguard’s Spencer Silitch and Luke Zirakian 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.
In the 3A boys’ team competition at Red Bug Lake Park, Doral handled Naples 4-3, getting singles wins from FacundoOlmedo 6-0, 6-2, Daniel Machado 6-1, 6-0, and Martin Belmar 6-3, 6-2 and a doubles victory from Olmedo and Machado 6-1, 6-3, to advance to the semifinals against Dwyer.
In 3A girls, Doral beat defending state champ Naples Gulf Coast 4-2, getting singles wins from Valeria Ray 6-1, 6-1, IsabelaTaboada 6-3, 6-1 and Brenda Yoris 6-1, 6-3. Ray and Taboada picked up the fourth win in doubles 6-3, 6-3.Doral will face West BocaRaton in the semis.
“We had lost to Gulf Coast last year in the state semifinals. Last year was tough and we were a little bit overmatched, but this year we had a little bit more firepower,” Doral coach Justin Puppo said. “It was definitely a good hurdle to get over.”
In 3A girls, Mourning’s Elizabeth Kuznetsov was eliminated by second-seeded BocaSeiga’s Jessica Stefan in the quarterfinals 7-6 (9-7), 6-4.