Aziz Rashidzada and Jackson Weisbrot let out a sigh of relief.
The Half Hollow Hills West duo, seeded eighth in the state boys tennis championships, had just pulled off a convincing 6-1, 6-0 win over William Kofman and Christopher Tham of Cardozo on Thursday to move into Friday’s quarterfinals at the National Tennis Center in Flushing.
“I think we’re very fortunate to have kept playing,” Weisbrot said. “We know how special this opportunity is and we won’t take it for granted.”
But Weisbrot wasn’t thinking about the last match as much as the first-round match that he and Rashidzada hung on to win, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (2) over Jason Piacelli and Patrick O’Brien of Pittsford-Mendon in Rochester.
“It was our first match at states and we were a bit nervous and excited,” Rashidzada said. “We have expectations coming into this tournament and were glad to get the nerves out of the way. We’re very fortunate to keep playing and in the second match we played a lot better and fixed our game and now we’re ready to get back to business.
The pair will be joined in the quarterfinal round by sixth-seeded Neel Rajesh and Kabir Rajpal of Syosset, who dropped only one game in their first two matches.
“We feel pretty confident going into tomorrow,” Rajesh said. “We played really well today.”
Though the majority of the opening rounds was played indoors because of ongoing construction, the Syosset team found themselves playing outside on the large Grandstand court for both of their matches and had to make an adjustment.
“Playing outside is a good thing — it’s where we want to play,” Rajpal said. “We just had to get used to playing at Grandstand because it’s a different atmosphere.”
In singles, Long Island secured four quarterfinal berths, led by 2015 state runner up Yuval Solomon of Plainview JFK. Solomon, the second seed, cruised past Churchville-Chili Rochester’s Ben Davis 6-0, 6-0.
“I’m pumped and I’m motivated to get back out there and continue playing and winning,” Solomon said.
No 3 Athell Bennett of Valley Stream Central overcame a 4-1 first set deficit to defeat Alex Fedorov of Guilderland Albany, 6-4, 6-2, in his second round match and Northport’s Cannon Kingsley lost only four games on his way to the quarters.
No. 7 Sean Mullins of Cold Spring Harbor will get a crack at two-time defending champion Matt Gamble of Webster-Schroeder in the quarters after a dominating performance in his first two matches.