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Hudson's Max Hawksford keeps his eyes on the ball while following through on a return in his match at No. 2 singles against Jordan Hampton of Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday. Hawksford defeated Hampton to help the Raiders sweep the Blackhawks, 7-0. Photo by Bob Burrows

Tennis team stays unbeaten

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The Raider boys' tennis team won its third straight dual match of the season in impressive fashion Thursday afternoon by defeating Menomonie, 6-1, in the Big Rivers Conference opener for both teams at the high school courts.


Earlier in the week the Raiders rolled to a 7-0 nonconference victory over Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday.

After hosting Tartan in a nonconference match Monday, April 20, the Raiders will return to BRC action at River Falls Thursday, April 23 at 4 p.m. before competing in a tournament in Shakopee on Saturday, April 25.

Hudson head coach Jon Hilding said beating Menomonie last Thursday was a great way to start the conference season.

"Menomonie has a solid team, so I was impressed by the play of the Raiders," he said. "Our lone loss came at No. 1 singles where Vitor Linhares played well but came up just short against a very fine Menomonie player."

Linhares lost 4-6, 4-6, to the Indians' Gui Silva but the rest of the Raiders were solid, with only Ben Duerst at No. 3 singles being pushed to three sets. Duerst battled back from a 5-7 loss in the first set against Xavier Schwartz to win the next two, 6-0, 6-2.

"Ben Duerst showed great determination after dropping the first set," Hilding said. "He raised his level of play and took control of the rest of the match for the win."

Max Hawksford defeated Ignacio Echanove, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 2 singles while Saajan Bhakta posted a 7-5, 6-1 win over David Mollan at the No. 3 spot.

"Max Hawksford continues to impress with his ability to move his opponent around the court and out away shots," Hilding said. "Saajan Bhakta was very steady, outlasting his opponent in a tough first set and then playing a strong second set."

In doubles play, Josh Szyman and Eric Kromer defeated Clement Fischer and Johan Mellinius 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1, and Stephen Hilding and Joe Hanson knocked off Eric Besse and John Wiat 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2, while Nick Yannarelly and Ryan Hanes defeated Jordan Weibel and Taylor Pitt, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 3.

"Stephen Hilding and Joe Hanson took the offensive and really kept in control of the match," Jon Hilding said. "Josh Szyman and Eric Kromer were also impressive, repeatedly forcing their opponent out of position and hitting the open shots. Nick Yannarelly and Ryan Hanes showed they are also ready for a good season."

Two days earlier at home against Baldwin-Woodville, the Raiders won every match in straight sets on their way to a 7-0 victory over the Blackhawks.

Linhares defeated Ed Rumpel, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, Hawksford beat Jordan Hampton 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2, Bhakta topped John Rumpel 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3, and Duerst defeated Dylan Wevers, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4.

In doubles play, Szyman and Kromer posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Alex Buechter and Dan Peterson at the No. 1 spot, Hilding and Hanson rolled to a 6-0, 6-0, win over Seth Kersten and Taylor Zimmerman at No. 2, and Yannarelly and Hanes picked up a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Mark Serier and Tommy Huenink at No. 3.

"Our doubles play was very impressive, with all three positions controlling their matches from start to finish," Hilding said. "Our singles play was solid, as the players took charge of the matches early and did not let up."