Barstow junior Hannah Tadros felt that there were as many as five or six players who had a chance to win the Class 1 singles championship at the Missouri girls state tennis tournament.
Tadros, who finished third at state last year, is one of the four who still have a chance after a pair of straight-set wins Friday at the Cooper Tennis Center.
“I did not think there was a distinct favorite this year,” Tadros said.
Last year’s Class 1 singles champion, Gaby Thornton of John Burroughs, missed the entire season after undergoing ACL surgery.
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Tadros got off to a bit of a slow start Friday, falling behind 3-4 in the first set against talented freshman Lizzie Barlow of Villa Duchesne. But Tadros responded and won 7-5, 6-2.
“She was a very good player who got everything back,” Tadros said of Barlow. “I kind of liked to be tested in my first match. It can set the tone for the tournament.”
Tadros followed that up with an impressive 6-0, 6-1 win over Grace Powderly of Cape Girardeau Notre Dame. Powderly was a state medalist last year, finishing seventh.
Tadros will have a huge challenge in Saturday’s semifinals as she faces John Burroughs sophomore Sami Remis. Remis lost to her teammate Thornton in the state championship match last year in a three-set classic.
“I’ve played doubles with her a couple of times,” said Tadros. “I don’t love playing my friends, but sometimes when that happens it brings out the best in each other.”
The two played in the season-opening Great Eight Tournament, with Remis winning 7-6, 6-0.
“She’s a lefty and has a different spin on her serve,” Tadros said. “I need to stay focused and keep a mental edge. This year I have gotten more aggressive with my shots and I will need to be aggressive against Sami.”
The other Class 1 singles semifinal will also be a Kansas City-St. Louis matchup. Pembroke Hill freshman Randi Hendricks will face MICDS junior Caleigh McClain. Hendricks had a big 6-3, 7-5 win over three-time state singles medalist Anna Rader of Springfield Catholic in the quarterfinals. McClain also was impressive in the quarterfinals, defeating Excelsior Springs junior Emily Buck, 6-0, 6-0. Buck finished fourth in singles last year.
Pembroke Hill also advanced a doubles team to the Class 1 semifinals. Lynne Li and Jacqueline Kincaid won a pair of straight-set matches and will face Lily Walther and Ainsley Heidbreder in the semifinals. Pembroke Hill’s other doubles team, Alisha Castaner and Jean Li, lost a marathon quarterfinals match against Maddy Duncan and Lexi Young of John Burroughs, 7-6, 6-7, 6-2.
As is the case in Class 1, the Class 2 singles semifinals will feature players from St. Louis and Kansas City.
Eva Kresovic of Park Hill South stayed unbeaten with a pair of wins Friday. She defeated Tristen Caskey of Lee’s Summit West 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals to improve to 23-0 this season. She will face Ella Kinder of Rockwood Summit in one semifinal.
Caitlyn Sporing of Blue Springs won the longest singles match of the quarterfinals. Sporing, who finished fifth last year, defeated Erin Davis of Lafayette, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“I came into this tournament wanting to get first, second or third, and this match almost ruined that,” Sporing said. “I had never played her before, and in my mind I thought I was going to win going in. But then I realized after the first set that I needed to play my ‘A’ game. I calmed down and played my shots. I tried to end points too quickly in that first set.”
Sporing will play the top entrant from St. Louis, Alyson Piskulic of Mehlville in the semifinals on Saturday. Like Kresovic, Piskulic brings a 23-0 record to the semifinals.
Liberty’s Colby Kelley and Riley Kelley won a pair of straight-set matches Friday. They will play defending Class 2 doubles champions Faith Wright and Katherine Dudley in the semifinals.
All semifinals matches are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Cooper. All championship matches are slated to begin at 1 p.m.