SPRINGFIELD – Inside or outside, it didn’t matter for Blue Springs South’s Paul Province during Friday’s opening rounds of singles play Friday in the Class 2 state tennis championships at the Cooper Tennis Complex.
The Jaguar senior gutted out a 7-5, 6-2 win over Joplin’s Luke Frogge after some morning rain forced matches to be played indoors. When the rain ceased and the courts got dry, Province played outdoors against Parkway Central’s Jacob Kanter and racked up a 6-1, 6-1 win.
Province (27-3) now plays Rockhurst’s Alexander Koca in the semifinals at 9 a.m. today. Koca beat Province in last weekend’s team sectionals.
“Paul is all smiles,” South coach Nathan Mooney said. “He wanted top six or eight, and right now he’s in the top four. He has nothing to lose, so the pressure’s off him to just go out and enjoy the second day.
“He played a tough match against the Joplin player and was able to get through.”
Mooney said that while watching Province’s first match he also was able to catch his possible second-round opponents square off on the adjacent court.
“We knew the way it was going that Paul stood a good chance (in the second round),” Mooney said, adding that Province adjusted well to his opponents’ tendencies Friday.
“He played a tough Both players sort of had weaker backhands, and Paul was able to play to that and make them hit backhands, then move them around. He has a very good touch with drop shots.”
CLASS 1 DOUBLES: Grain Valley’s tandem of Cody Zeigler and James Eubank is guaranteed a medal after winning a pair of consolation matches Friday.
In the first round, the Eagles failed to hold a lead in both sets and lost 7-5, 6-3 to Pembroke Hill’s Tristan Threatt and Sam Kramer. They recovered to beat Dexter’s Noah Kront and Ethan Flowers 8-3 and Cape Girardeau Notre Dame’s Mason Seesing and Brendan Boswell 8-6.
Zeigler and Eubank will play Pembroke Hill brothers Noah and Josh Bortnick in today’s consolation semifinals.