East Ridge junior Ben van der Sman didn’t hold his serve in the opening game of his Class 2A boys’ state tennis quarterfinal match. He was also down in his next service game before winning it.
Slow start? He said afterward he was still recovering from his first match, a 6-4, 6-2 win that lasted nearly two hours.
“That kind of took a toll on me in the beginning,” van der Sman said. “But I was able to re-collect myself and push through.”
No. 4 seed Van der Sman advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Duluth East’s Elliot Schneider on Thursday at the University of Minnesota Baseline Tennis Center, where all four singles seeds advanced. He adjusted his game and put a few well-placed winners near the lines.
“I like to pull my opponents as far out of the court as I possibly can and take them out of the middle of the court, so I can use more of the court to my advantage,” van der Sman said.
Van der Sman is 30-2 on the season. His only losses are to Shakopee junior Jackson Allen, the undefeated No. 1 seed in the tournament. They face each other in a semifinal match at 8 a.m. Friday.
“I have to be ready for him to be constantly on the offense,” van der Sman said.
Van der Sman is 5-0 in matches this week, including the team tournament where top-seeded East Ridge was upset by eventual champion Minnetonka in the semifinals.
The other Class 2A singles semifinal sets up Rochester Mayo sophomore Sebastian Vile and No. 3 seed Wayzata senior Nicholas Beaty. This is Vile’s third trip to the tournament; he won the consolation title last year. Beaty is the 2014 singles champion.
The winners will meet in the championship at 11:30 a.m.
In Class 2A doubles, defending champs Anthony Rosa and Carter Mason from Eden Prairie made it to the semifinals with two straight-set victories.
All four seeds in 1A singles advanced as well. Top-seeded and 2015 runner-up Ben Ingbar of Blake won both his matches 6-0, 6-1 and will face fellow junior Ryan Ortega, the No. 4 seed from Winona Cotter.
Blake sophomore Jack Barker and Foley senior Zach Kantor will play each other in the other semifinal at 8 a.m. Friday at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in south Minneapolis.