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Oregon 6A boys tennis: Lincoln's Will Semler (singles), Sunset's Parsa Nasri-Kei Watanabe (doubles), Lincoln (team) earn titles

“It doesn’t get any better than this. ... I’m going to rest tomorrow and just soak it all in.”
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By Dan Brood 

Will Semler got it all. 

So did the Lincoln boys tennis team.

And the Cardinals couldn’t be happier about it.

Semler, a Lincoln sophomore, won the boys singles state championship, helping the Cardinals win their first state team title since 1988, at the Class 6A state championships, held Thursday through Saturday at the Babette Horenstein Tennis Center. 

“No, it doesn’t get any better than this,” Semler said with a smile during the Cardinals’ championship celebration on court No. 10 at the Beaverton site. “(The singles title) means a lot. There’s a lot of work I put in, in the dark. There’s a lot of hours on the court, and it’s a great, relieving feeling right now. I’m going to rest tomorrow and just soak it all in.” 

Will Semler Lincoln

Don’t forget the team championship.

“That’s huge,” Semler said. “(Lincoln junior) Freddie (Kemple) clinched it this morning (with a win in the consolation bracket). It’s been since 1988 since we won it, and it’s just an unbelievable feeling. Our coach, and everyone, are just ecstatic.”

Semler, the No. 3 seed, had an interesting path to the final. After receiving a first-round bye, Semler had a couple of straight-set victories to move to the semifinals, where he saw a familiar face — Lincoln junior Alex Dinkov.

Dinkov, the No. 7 seed, earned his spot in the semis by getting a 7-6, 7-6 win over top-seeded Gus Krauel of Central Catholic.

“That’s a testament to all the work Lincoln has put in during the year,” Semler said of the Cardinal vs. Cardinal semifinal.

Semler came away with a 6-2, 6-0 win in the semifinals to earn a spot in Saturday’s championship match against Beaverton junior Tannor Binder, the No. 2 seed.

Semler recorded a 6-4 win in the first set of the title contest. Binder came back strong, taking leads of 4-3, 5-4 and 6-5 in the second set.

“There’s a lot of ups and downs, probably because of the pressure,” Semler said. “I just tried to stay steady as much as possible. I don’t think I did a great job of that, but he played really well. I just tried to manage and play every ball, and see what happens.” 

Semler won the 12th game of the set, sending things to a tie-breaker. That’s where things really got interesting, as Binder jumped out to a 3-1 lead.

“Just stay in it and fight,” Semler said of what was going through his mind at that point. “That’s all I can do. There’s nothing to think about.”

Binder held leads of 4-2 and 5-4 in the tie-breaker, but that’s when Semler took over. The Lincoln sophomore scored the next two points to take his first lead of the tie-breaker, at 6-5.

The next point, match point, went a long time — a very long time — until Semler came away with the point — and the championship.

“I wasn’t even thinking about it,” Semler said. “It took me a little bit to realize it, because it was such a long point. It was just an unbelievable feeling. It was such a relief. I was so happy to get this.”

West Linn junior Jax Ledwith, the No. 4 seed, notched a 4-6, 6-1, 3-0 (ret.) win over Dinkov in the boys singles third-place match.

Sunset boys doubles team

In boys doubles play, the No. 2-seeded team of Sunset juniors Parsa Nasri and Kei Watanabe earned a 6-2, 6-0 victory against the Lake Oswego team of junior Cooper Whittington and senior Alec Beechem. 

In the boys doubles third-place match, Jesuit seniors Yohan Pandya and Ethan Tran got a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Lakeridge seniors Tyler Pyle and Nathan Mittlestadt.

Lincoln won the boys team title with a score of 21.5 points. Jesuit was second with 19 points. West Linn was third with 17. Sunset and Lake Oswego tied for fourth with 10 points — with the Apollos winning a game of rock-paper-scissors to get to take the trophy home with them, although the Lakers will eventually get a trophy of their own. 

Lincoln boys tennis