Mountain House High sophomore Eidan Mercado stayed perfect on his Western Athletic Conference (WAC) singles championship match visits as he defeated teammate and fellow sophomore Aadi Rajan 2-0 (6-3, 6-2) to clinch his second title in as many years last Thursday in Los Banos.
This was also the second year running in which Mercado and Rajan faced each other for all the marbles in WAC and the third straight year when the singles final was an all-Mountain House affair.
Last spring, the then freshman duo had a tight back and forth with Mercado emerging as the victor with some enormous clutch shots down the stretch. This time around, the champion was able to take care of his teammate with theoretically more ease.
No match at this stage of the competition is easy and Mercado had to go through his fair share of adversity in the early going as he fell behind 3-0 in the opening set. However, able to steady himself, he went on to win eight straight games to take the first set 6-3 and take a quick 2-0 lead to start the second.
A game competitor, Rajan did not back down from a challenge and responded well to get within one of Mercado at 3-2. However, Mercado proved to be just too tough, too smooth and too good on the day as he closed out the match with three straight games to win 6-2.
The day of the singles championship game was also the stage for the WAC doubles tournament. And, as the reigning league champion, the Mustangs were able to send three teams into the fray.
Senior Pranav Sundar and junior captain Daniel Zhang were the top seed overall and they cruised to the championship game where they faced the No. 2 seed from Beyer High – making it the first time since joining WAC that Mountain House did not have both teams in the doubles finals.
That wasn’t a problem in the end as Zhang and Sundar were able to secure the Mustangs’ fourth consecutive doubles title with a 6-2, 6-3 win. It was their first as a duo.
Elsewhere, sophomores Parthiv Algubelli and Andy Su Jr. lost to the very same Beyer team in the second round 6-2, 6-0. Junior Zuhair Mughal and sophomore Dhruv Jena were eliminated by Beyer in the semifinals. The Patriots had to go through a whole contingent of Mustangs in an attempt to take the WAC crown but fell at the third time of asking.
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