ST. PETER - Fairmont's Alex Kopischke overcame two hurdles Thursday to reach the Section 2A individual tennis meet's singles-bracket semifinals.
"He really doesn't like playing against left-handers," Cardinal mentor Eric Johnson said prior to Kopischke's quarterfinal clash against St. Peter southpaw Alex Nadeau.
In addition to facing the left-handed hitting Nadeau, Kopischke's service game was a bit off inside the rain-proof confines of the Swanson Indoor Tennis Center in St. Peter.
"He started struggling with his serve (during Wednesday's sectional team semifinal meet) and it continued into (Thursday)," said Johnson. "He just had to fight his way through it."
And Kopischke did exactly that, rediscovering his powerful serve during the third and decisive set with Nadeau after the two netters split a pair of nerve-racking tiebreaker sets.
Kopischke, who earned the No. 2 seed in the sectional singles bracket and a first-round bye with it, rallied for a 7-2 tiebreaker win in Set 2 for a 7-6 decision after Nadeau claimed the opening set 7-6 (7-5).
Nadeau pounced to an early 1-0 lead in the third set before Kopischke held serve, earned a pivotal break by blistering a forehand winner and then held serve again for a 3-1 edge.
Despite four deuces and a pair of ad-outs in Game 5, Kopischke nailed a backhand pass for the game-winner en route to a 4-1 lead and eventual 6-2 victory.
Kopischke faces No. 3-seeded Jake Esenther of Holy Family Catholic in a singles semifinal at 2 p.m. today at the Gustavus Adolphus College's indoor facility. Esenther outlasted St. James' Connor Olson in the quarterfinals, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Esenther opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Redwood Valley's Tyler Hagen, while Olson outslugged Mound-Westonka's Hunter Putt, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Nadeau gained the quarterfinals via a 6-0, 6-1 opening decision over Blue Earth Area's Hunter Myers.In today's other Section 2A singles semifinal, No. 1-seeded Connor Oberle of Holy Family Catholic faces Mound-Westonka's Sander Lee.
The smooth-hitting Oberle earned a first-round bye before coasting to a 6-0, 6-1 quarterfinal victory over St. Peter's Alex Willson. The No. 5-seeded Lee blanked Redwood Valley's Max Russell in straight sets in the first round before downing No. 4-seeded Bruno Beidacki of Fairmont in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-3.
Beidacki reached the quarterfinals by downing Blue Earth Area's Eric Purvis in first-round action, 6-3, 6-1.
In sectional doubles play, the top four seeded tandems held true to form by qualifying for today's semifinals.
Top-seeded Mitch Elofson and Nathan Huber of St. Peter square off against No. 4-seeded Arend Turner and Luke Moorhead of Mound-Westonka, while No. 2-seeded Will Griffith and Wells Brose of Mound-Westonka battle No. 3-seeded Sam Peterson and Spencer Gault of St. Peter.
Elofson and Huber netted a first-round bye before downing Fairmont's J.T. Viesselman and Joe Washa in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-0. Viesselman and Washa opened the day by outlasting Blue Earth Area's Ben Gettis and Jaron King, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.
Turner and Moorhead downed St. James' Shane Olson and Tayler Berg in the quarterfinals, 6-1, 6-1, after opening with a 6-0, 6-1 decision over HFC's David Forbes and Ben Johnson.
Peterson and Gault reached Day 2 by defeating Fairmont's Shawn Patterson and Grant Becker in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-2, after opening with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over St. James' Brock Mueller and Will Runge. Patterson and Becker gained the quarterfinals by posting a 6-0, 6-1 first-round win over Blue Earth Area's Chandler Kienitz and Martin Granados.
Griffith and Bose netted a first-round bye before downing HFC's Sam Forbes and Luke Smith in the quarters, 6-3, 6-2.