Clippers’ top doubles team remains unbeaten

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold/Greenport's first singles player, David O'Day, returning a shot against Hampton Bays' Jack Hilton.
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold/Greenport’s first singles player, David O’Day, returning a shot against Hampton Bays’ Jack Hilton.


Will Richter and Dylan Stromski are an odd tennis couple. What makes Southold/Greenport’s first doubles team such an unusual pairing is that the two have such similar personalities. They are low key, reserved and mild mannered. Another word would be quiet.

That may be more the exception than the rule for a typical doubles team.

Southold/Greenport coach Andrew Sadowski explained, “A lot of times a good [doubles] team has different personalities, and they’re opposite and they balance each other out.”

One thing is for sure: There is no balance in Richter and Stromski’s win-loss record. With their two-set win on Monday, the two juniors brought their record to 5-0. Hampton Bays swept the four singles matches, though, for a 4-3 defeat of Southold/Greenport as both teams concluded the first half of the League VIII season at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays.

Two years ago, Richter played third doubles while Stromski was positioned at fourth singles. The two were joined together last year at first doubles and enjoyed success, losing only one match during the regular season. That set up a promising 2013 season for them.

“It helped that they played together last year,” Sadowski said. “I think that they understand each other quite well. When one of them is down, they know how to pick the other guy up. They know how to compensate for each other. … Even if one of them may be off their game a little bit, the other one is there to pick him up.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Gary Prieto of Southold/Greenport playing at the net during his second singles match against Caleb Reed of Hampton Bays.
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Gary Prieto of Southold/Greenport playing at the net during his second singles match against Caleb Reed of Hampton Bays.

Stromski said: “We had all of last season to adjust to each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and this year we’re definitely doing a real good job with how we’re playing. We had a really successful season last year. This year, I mean, with people who graduate on other teams, you never really know what you’re going to expect. We have high hopes every year, and we’re just playing our best, and this is where we are.”

They were 5-0 following their 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Hampton Bays’ Alex Mineo and Wayne Stanton.

Southold/Greenport, which dropped to 2-4 overall and in the league, also received wins from its two other doubles team. The No. 2 duo of Drew Sacher and Devyn Standish outlasted Ross Hamilton and Adrian Holguim in the only three-setter of the day, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. In the final match of the afternoon, Rob Melly and Sean O’Donnell were 6-3, 6-4 winners over Juan Buritica and Nick Romagnoli.

David O’Day specifically made a point not to use it as an excuse, but he didn’t have his favorite tennis racket available. While that racket was being restrung, O’Day played with a racket he borrowed from his father. It might be too much to say it cost him the match, but an argument could be made that it surely didn’t help the Southold/Greenport senior not to be playing with a racket he was comfortable with. At the same time, his opponent at first singles, Jack Hilton, did everything he could to make the match uncomfortable for O’Day. Hilton committed only three unforced errors and did not have a double fault as he prevailed, 6-3, 6-1, in an entertaining contest that featured long points and delightful shots by both players.

“The long volleys were definitely suspenseful,” said O’Day.

O’Day won the first two games of the 52-minute match before the tide turned against him.

“The thing that’s really fun about watching David play is he is very consistent and he doesn’t give up on any points, and he works hard the entire match,” Sadowski said. The coach added: “He understands how good his opponents are, and he works very hard. He’s [at] number one singles because he’s earned it.”

Caleb Reed, Tim Berglin and Saul Rojas all earned singles wins for Hampton Bays (4-2, 3-2). Reed triumphed in a second-set tiebreaker, 7-2, over Gary Prieto after taking the first set, 6-4, at second singles. Berglin and Rojas both scored 6-1, 6-1 results over James Shine and Michael Schade, respectively.

In between each point, Richter and Stromski speak to each other, making sure they are focused on the task at hand. Regardless of their easygoing ways, they have kept their winning streak alive.

“We have our differences, but we play well together,” Richter said. “I knew we were going to do well” this season.

Among their shared views is a mutual aversion to losing.

“We have our differences; we also have our similarities,” Stromski said. “We definitely both don’t like to lose. That’s the biggest thing that motivates us.”

Surely, there is nothing odd about that.

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