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Local tennis players remain title contenders in every bracket going into round of 16 at state tournament

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Three singles players and four doubles teams from Northern Kentucky won their first two matches in the boys and girls state tennis tournament on Tuesday and advanced to the round of 16 in each bracket.

Covington Latin senior Sara Watanabe, the top seed in girls singles, and Dixie Heights junior Tapanee Boonyawat have their next matches scheduled for 9:15 a.m. Wednesday at the University of Kentucky. If they win, they’ll play quarterfinal matches at 2 p.m.

Covington Latin senior Sara Watanabe

Watanabe made it to the state semifinals the last two years. Boonyawat is an exchange student who will be returning to Thailand following her first appearance in the state tournament.

The only local player remaining in the boys singles bracket is Covington Catholic junior Brady Hussey, the No. 2 seed. He won his first two matches in straight sets to reach the round of 16 for the third consecutive year. Hussey lost in the semifinals last year.

In girls doubles, Notre Dame seniors Taylor Meenach and Hailey Fullenkamp won a second-set tiebreaker in the second round to stay in the running for a state title. Last year, they lost in the round of 16 on a third-set tiebreaker.

CovCath sophomores Alex Yeager and Kalei Christensen lived up to their top seed in boys doubles by winning two matches in straight sets. They’re among the local players who will compete in three of the eight boys matches set for 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Eli Back and John Laskey of Highlands and Shayaan Ahmad and Joey Case of Villa Madonna are also among the remaining contenders in boys doubles. In the second round, Back and Laskey pulled out a 11-9 win in a third-set tiebreaker.

Brady Hussey (CovCath) vs. Tyler Fox (Lexington Sayre), 8 a.m.
Sara Watanabe (Covington Latin) vs. Arden Dethridge (Greenwood), 9:15 A.M.
Tapanee Boonyawat (Dixie Heights) vs. Molly Nutt (Mayfield), 9:15 p.m.
Alex Yeager-Kalei Christensen (CovCath) vs. Kian Rosenau-Nikan Rosenau (Dunbar), 10:30 a.m.
Eli Back-John Laskey (Highlands) vs. Mason Baldwin-Landon Hagan (Elizabethtown), 10:30 a.m.
Shayaan Ahmad – Joey Case (Villa Madonna) vs. Connor McIntosh-Wyatt Crabtree (McCracken County), 10:30 a.m.
Taylor Meenach-Hailey Fullenkamp (Notre Dame) vs. Abigail McClellan-Addison Littlefield (Louisville Assumption), 11:45 a.m.

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