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Tennis players from Nassau and Suffolk advance in state tourney

Hewlett senior Veronika Paikin returns a volley during

Hewlett senior Veronika Paikin returns a volley during the Nassau County girls' tennis doubles final at Eisenhower Park. She and teammate Gabby Leon defeated Garden City's Morgan Herrmann and Brittany Burke 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to win the county championship. (Oct. 21, 2012) Photo Credit: James Escher

In the wake of superstorm Sandy, a small sense of normalcy was restored Saturday when 27 high school girls tennis players from the Nassau, Suffolk and CHSAA competed in the opening two rounds of the individual state championships in Latham, as scheduled.

All nine competitors from Nassau, three singles players and three doubles pairs, advanced to the quarterfinals, while one singles player and one doubles pair from Suffolk won their first-round matches before losing in the second round. All nine competitors from the CHSAA lost in the first round.

"It's kind of surreal when you think about it," Hewlett's Gabby Leon, a doubles player, said. "We weren't expecting to be able to come up here at all but you wouldn't know there was a huge storm that just came a couple days ago. It's a different world."

In singles, Garden City's Alexa Graham, Nassau's champion and the tournament's top seed, and second-seeded Vivian Cheng of Syosset both received first-round byes and advanced to the quarterfinals with one-sided victories in the second round. Fourth-seeded Nicholle Torres of Great Neck South won in the first round, and beat Bayport-Blue Point's Laura Torsiello, 6-2, 6-2, in the second round to advance.

In doubles, third-seeded Leon and Veronika Paikin, the two-time Nassau champions, fifth-seeded Brittany Burke and Morgan Herrmann of Garden City, and eighth-seeded Lauren Livingston and Emma Brezel of Port Washington also advanced.

The Suffolk doubles champions, seventh-seeded Amanda Luper and Allison Huber of Half Hollow Hills East, won their first-round match but were eliminated in the second round in three sets, while Burke and Herrmann knocked off Sarah Han and Dani Silber from Hills West, 6-3, 6-1, in the first round.

The singles and doubles quarterfinal matches will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday, with the semifinal round following.

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