At each crossover, Craig Greenwald glanced up at The Racket Club’s TV, eager to catch the score of the World Cup final, even though he was in the midst of a championship match.
When Greenwald discovered Germany had scored during the second set, it was all the motivation he needed to win, beating Kailash Panchapakesan, 7-5, 6-3, to capture his first McHenry County Classic Men’s Open singles title.
“The game definitely changed how I played, so I was pumped,” Greenwald said. “I started moving a little faster once they were winning.”
Both Greenwald and Panchapakean, this year’s Fox Valley Conference No. 1 singles champion, admitted that they hadn’t played against each other much, saying the beginning of the match was more of a “feeling-out” process than anything else. The two had played with each other several times outside The Racket Club, but never had the chance to play an actual match.
Greenwald and Panchapakesan had several chances with longer games to break each other’s serve, but neither player dropped a service game until 6-5, when Greenwald started attacking the net.
“I definitely had to get to the net to break [Kailash’s] serve,” Greenwald said. “I’ve tried to come to the net the entire tournament, but he was hitting some good shots, so I laid off of that a little at first.”
In the second set, Panchapakesan quickly answered back with a service break of his own. He had an opportunity to go up 2-0, but missed an overhead that led to Greenwald answering back with a break.
The pair was even through four games, but Greenwald’s strong ground strokes proved too much for Panchapakesan to recover from in the games following.
“I kinda knew what to expect, the big serve and the big forehand,” Panchapakesan said of his opponent. “I just tried to get the ball in because he hits a lot of winners and doesn’t need my unforced errors to add to it.”
For several years, Greenwald has watched Sam Sweeney and John Cincola battle for the singles crown, but with their absences this year, he was happy to finally have a chance at winning.
“It’s nice, I feel like a champion,” Greenwald chuckled.
In the Boys’ 18 championship, Prairie Ridge’s Hayden Dzurisin beat teammate Garrett Locher in three sets, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2.
Annie Timm won the Girls’ 18 title, beating Mikaela McNally, 6-0, 6-1, while last year’s Mens’ 35 champion, Robert Fishman, lost to newcomer Zachary Bohlin in the Men’s 20 final.
Keith Leuthold repeated as the winner in the Men’s 50 championship.
Next up at the McHenry County Classic is Mixed doubles, which begins Friday, July 18.
Boys’ 14- Kyle Burton def. Will Sudbrook (6-3, 6-3)
Girls’ 14- Halle Rosentreter def. Kaitlyn Theil (6-4, 6-0)
Women’s Open- Amanda Schuetzle def. Lori Cahill (6-2, 6-1)