TUCKERS 6, EAGLES 1
Garrett Malave brings a lot of tools in his tennis bag. He has great footwork, which comes in handy for leverage in hitting shots and court coverage (there aren’t many shots he cannot get to). He strikes shots with force, plenty of spin and deadly accuracy. He uncoils to deliver an improved serve that challenges opponents with its power and movement.
In addition to all of that, Malave looks bigger and stronger than he did a year ago. Something else for opponents to worry about.
Although tennis is a sport more known for its technique than strength, the muscle Malave added through weight training comes in handy. If nothing else, he believes it will help him prevent injury, which isn’t a bad thing.
In the meantime, the Mattituck High School junior’s game progresses.
The wind is a tennis player’s worst enemy, but Malave and all the other players in Saturday’s match at Rocky Point High School had to contend with gusts that made a cold day feel even colder. No matter. Skill won out. Malave delivered 21 service aces to beat Rocky Point senior Kevin Kucharczyk, 6-2, 6-3, in first singles. The Tuckers (8-3, 7-2 Suffolk County League VII) swept the four singles matches and won the team contest, 6-1.
Mattituck’s No. 3 singles player, Andrew Young (11-0), remained unbeaten, posting a 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Nate Hanley. Parker Tuthill (10-1) breezed past Muhammed Yazdanie, 6-1, 6-0, at second singles. Ty Bugdin, playing in the fourth position, also won in two sets, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.
Mattituck continued to benefit from the fine play of its second doubles team of Tucker Johansson and Lucas Kosmynka. They were 6-4, 6-1 winners over Luis Ak and Aaron Lubbes.
Austin Gao and Matt Wells also brought the Tuckers a team point with their 6-4, 6-2 victory over Mike Alessi and Avery Atkinson.
Rocky Point (3-5, 3-5) picked up its only team point from first doubles. The duo of Carson Kimball and Tejas Tope beat Josh Hassildine and Chris Maichan, 6-0, 6-3.
Because of the cold, both Malave and Kucharczyk wore sweatshirts during their match. The conditions, however, didn’t seem to bother Malave (7-4) much. He tinkered with shots during the second set, almost as if experimenting. Malave won the first four games of the match and five of the last six. At times, he made it look as if he could put away winners at will.