Winona Cotter sophomore Emma Hageman came back from a set down and grabbed a 4-0 lead in the third set of her Class 1A quarterfinal match. A couple of breaks later, the match was knotted at four games apiece. Hageman said she started to get nervous.

"All these thoughts going through your head about the future," Hageman said. "But I had to really focus in the present and what I was doing at the moment.

"That's what got me back for those last two games."

Unseeded Hageman held serve and then broke at love to seal the comeback, a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 upset victory over No. 2 seed Annika Harberts Ott. The Class 1A quarterfinal lasted about 2 hours, 45 minutes Thursday afternoon at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.

A Providence Academy senior, Harberts Ott came into the match as a seeded player with state tournament experience. The whole experience is brand-new to Hageman. She's an international student from Mexico City in her first year at Cotter and her first season on the tennis team. So far, Hageman said, "It's been an exciting journey."

Hageman credits her backhand as a strength on the court, but one of the biggest improvements her coaching staff saw in her this season was her mental capacity, said Cotter coach Anne Besek. Hageman was tentative with her shots at the start of the season.

Now she's solid, Besek said.

"She can be down and then turn it around just by really focusing on just breathing and going out there and not worrying," Besek said.

Besek credited her assistant coach, son Matt Besek, for having "a way of calming" Hageman throughout the season, including during Thursday's quarterfinal.

Hageman also gained more confidence in herself during Thursday's match. After she started the third set with a pair of double faults, she reminded herself to stay calm and focused. " 'You can serve. You can do it,'" Hageman said she told herself.

Hageman said she won because she believed in herself, not because of her groundstrokes, her well-placed winners or her ability to take advantage of her opponent's unforced errors in the final two sets.

She'll bring that confidence with her to the state semifinals Friday.

"I'm super excited," Hageman said. "I never imagined that I could get this far. But I'm also so proud of myself. I'll just keep working hard and see where we get."

Hageman will face No. 3 seed Leah Maddock, a sophomore from Osakis, in Friday's semifinals. Maddock used her powerful groundstrokes to defeat Foley's Amie Vanderweyst 6-3, 6-2. Maddock is in her third consecutive state tournament, going a step further each year. As an unseeded eighth-grader, she lost in the first round in 2021. Last season, she lost her quarterfinal match as the fifth seed.

This time, she's excited to reach her first state semifinal.

"I think it's great," Maddock said. "It just shows how much I'm improving every year, and that I can just keep moving forward."

Hageman's victory was the only upset in the bracket. Top seed Isabelle Einess of Breck didn't drop a game in her quarterfinal. She'll face fourth seed Casey Cronin of Holy Family after Cronin's 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over fifth seed Avery Skaar of Thief River Falls. The top four seeds in the doubles bracket all advanced to the semifinals.

Class 2A

The only three-set quarterfinal in the Class 2A singles bracket at Baseline Tennis Center on Thursday was a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory for fifth seed Aoife Loftus of Rochester Mayo over fourth seed Lucy Nabedrick of Wayzata. Loftus will face Eagan's Cassandra Li, the top seed, in the semifinals. Second seed Claire Loftus, Aoife's sister, didn't lose a game in her quarterfinal, and Elk River's Ava Nelson advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 victory.