These identical twins with identical win-loss records don’t have identical playing styles, but they believe their tennis games are fairly similar.
Jacob and Xavier Kahn, Greenport’s only representatives on the Southold/Greenport boys team, make a good match for each other. Although Xavier has played first singles for most of the season, Jacob defeated his brother in a recent challenge match to take the No. 1 position away from him.
The Kahns also share a competitive streak, so one surmised that the two juniors don’t like losing to each other.
“They don’t like losing, period,” said coach Andrew Sadowski.
That’s a good trait for a tennis player.
Both Kahns tasted defeat in three-setters Monday when the First Settlers dropped a 5-2 non-league loss to East Islip at Southold High School. Jacob, playing first singles for the third time this season, fell to Evan Mauner, 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-2. Meanwhile, Xavier was defeated, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, by Owen Hegarty at second singles. Those results left both Kahns with 5-6 records.
East Islip (6-3, 4-3 Suffolk County League III) clinched the team match when James Mooney prevailed over Van Karsten in third singles, 7-5, 5-7, 6-1.
The fourth singles match nearly went to three sets as well before East Islip’s Thomas Hopkins edged Jared Palumbo in a second-set tiebreaker, 7-3. Hopkins took the first set, 6-4.
Southold’s two team points both came from doubles. The No. 1 doubles pairing of Cole Brigham and Devin Quinones beat Justin Lomando and Cole Zanni, 6-4, 6-0. “Our first doubles has been playing as well as they have all year,” said Sadowski.
In second doubles, Mario Contreras and Alex Kandora registered a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win over Joey Bucci and Logan Witte.
East Islip triumphed at third doubles, with Brian McCarthy and Matt Pinz getting the better of Matt Civion and Ethan Vandenburgh, 6-2, 6-1.
Sadowski likes what he has seen from his team this season. Southold is 6-5 overall, 5-3 in League VII.
“My goal was to be competitive,” he said, “so from that standpoint, I’m happy that we’re as competitive as we are this season.”
Obviously, the topspin-hitting Kahns are doing their part in this, their fourth year on the team.
“They’ve gotten stronger,” Sadowski said. “Physically they’ve matured. They’re a bit taller.”
As Sadowski compares the two, “Xavier is a bit more patient and Jacob wants to run and gun.”
Xavier, who is older than his brother by about a minute, has played first or second singles since he was an eighth-grader. “I’ve gotten more powerful,” he said. “My serve is getting better right now.”
Jacob, who double-faulted three straight times to end his match, said the season has “been progressively better for me, except for today.”
The Kahns are nearly identical is something else: academics. Jacob is ranked No. 1 in his class and Xavier is No. 2.
It’s interesting to note that the Kahns play at the level they do despite not playing much in the offseason. However, their tennis-playing days can be traced back over a decade. “I remember playing since we were 5 years old,” said Jacob.
Both Kahns said they would like to play in college if they had the opportunity.
Jacob has found that tennis can be so easy sometimes, and quite difficult other times.
“When you get in a groove, it feels awesome and you just don’t miss,” he said. “You play so well, you’re moving so quick, but tennis is a frustrating sport. It frustrates me a lot.”
As for his brother’s feelings on the matter, it would be a safe bet to say they are identical.
Photo caption: Jacob Kahn played first singles for Southold/Greenport for the third time this season on Monday. (Credit: Bob Liepa)