4A state tennis: Desert Hills, Dixie and Pine View advance players to semifinals

Liam Duffin of Desert Hills competes in the state 4A tennis tournament at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 10, 2019 | Photo by Megan Cafarelli, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — It was a great first day for the 4A state tennis tournament in Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park. Region 9 players from Southern Utah were on their game the first day of state, with multiple players and doubles teams advancing to the second round and semifinals in the various divisions.

Stefan Balian of Dixie competes in the state 4A tennis tournament at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 10, 2019 | Photo by Megan Cafarelli, St. George News

In first singles, freshman Liam Duffin from Desert Hills, the favorite from Region 9, beat Ridgeline’s Eric Ellis in three sets in the opening round, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. He went on to sweep Juan Diego’s Sam Nelson in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4, to earn a spot in Saturday’s semifinals, where he will face Region 12’s No. 1 seed Ryan Jeppson of Green Canyon.

Another impressive performance was given by Dixie’s first singles player Stefan Balian, who battled to earn his spot in the semifinals as well. Balian first swept Sky View’s Andrew Funk in two sets, 6-0, 6-0,then made it past Salem Hills’ Booker Ward in three tight sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Balian’s semifinals opponent will be Park City freshman Dylan Applegate, who ousted Snow Canyon’s Taylor Heinz in the second round on Friday.

No Region 9 players made it to the semifinals of the No. 2 singles. Dixie junior Ben Cooper got the region’s lone win in that bracket when he won his first match against Spanish Fork’s Will Heaps, but Cooper lost in the quarterfinals to Bonneville senior Andrew McCall, 6-1, 6-3.

In No. 3 singles, Luke Jensen of Snow Canyon also made it to the semifinals, defeating Tooele’s Jonah Wilson and then Logan’s Paul Miller. Also in third singles, Desert Hills sophomore Carsen Kennedy made it past his first-round opponent, Brigham Debry of Stasbury, 6-2, 6-0, but Kennedy then lost his next match to Landon Brenchley of Ridgeline, 6-3, 6-0.

As for the doubles teams, twin brothers Logan and Matt Seegmiller of Desert Hills held their composure as they got victories in No. 1 doubles over Ridgeline in the first round in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. They also beat Lehi in two sets in the quarterfinal round, but both sets were close, 7-5, 7-6 (8).

The second doubles teams from both Desert Hills (Braden Williams and Nui Afualo) and Pine View (Gibson Crawford and Jared Sudweeks) made it to Saturday semifinals, each now within one match of playing for the state title. Desert Hills plays Bonneville, Region 11’s top seed, while Pine View is set to face Logan, Region 12’s second seed.

After the first day of the two-day tournament, Desert Hills sits in third place overall in the team point totals with 7 points, while Park City and Bonneville are tied for first with 9. Dixie and Pine View are tied for fifth in the team standings with 4 points each.

The semifinals and finals matches will be decided Saturday at Liberty Park. Click here for official brackets and team standings.

— Written by Megan Cafarelli, with additional reporting by Jeff Richards

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