Harshith Pennabadi, right, and brother Shashank Pennabadi react after drawing...

Harshith Pennabadi, right, and brother Shashank Pennabadi react after drawing even with Jack Reis and Sam Saeed of Scarsdale at one set apiece in the NYSPHSAA boys tennis doubles final at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows on Sunday. Credit: James Escher

Harshith Pennabadi and Shashank Pennabadi completed their dismantling of the boys tennis doubles draw at the NYSPHSAA Individual Championships on Sunday. The brothers from Ward Melville made the final climb to the summit by staging a comeback to take out top-seeded Jack Reis and Sam Saeed of Scarsdale to become the state doubles champions.

The Pennabadis dropped the first set and stormed ahead early in the second and held off Scarsdale to take it. The duo then prevailed in a roller coaster third set by winning the final two games for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center.

Harshith Pennabadi ended a long rally by ripping a backhand passing shot down the line for a 40-15 lead as the Patriots won the ninth game. And Shashank Pennabadi hit a scorching overhead at the net in the tenth game as they broke Saeed’s serve for the win.

“It means a lot playing with my brother because we’ve been wanting this,” said Harshith, who has played postseason singles while Shashank played doubles in years past. “I told him the plan like three years ago: I’m going to play with you senior year . . . in doubles and we’re going to win the state. I’m glad it happened like this.”

The Pennabadi brothers put the plan into action in the Suffolk County individual Championships and were installed as the top seed — only to lose the final to Commack’s Eric Benderly and James Yu. But in the state tournament they eliminated the No. 2, No. 6 and No. 1 seeds in their last three matches.

Geneva’s Drew Fishback defeated Collum Moskowitz of White Plains, 6-1, 6-1, for the singles championship.

The Pennabadis looked like they might just ride their momentum from the second-set win to victory when they won the first three games of the third set and the first two points of the fourth game. The Scarsdale duo was the top seed for a reason and ended up winning that game after four deuces and then winning the first three points of the next game. They picked up the break and Saeed served them to even, where it stood until the ninth game.

“At that point you don’t think about losing the 3-0 lead, just on the next point,” Shashank said.

The Patriots were truly at their best with Harshith hammering ground strokes on the baseline and lightning-quick Shashank at the net.

“Harshith has that ability to consistently hit hard and accurate,” Ward Melville coach Erick Sussin said. “Shashank has one of the strongest net games you’ll see.”

The championship is a perfect ending for each of the brothers though very different. Harshith, a senior, is done with high school tennis. Sashank, a junior, was half of the third-place team the past two years.

“It’s the best way to end my high school career,” Harshith Pennabadi said.

“I plan to play singles [next year],” Shashank Pennabadi said, “but I wanted to win state doubles first.”

Consolations with some consolation: The consolation brackets featured rematches of the Nassau County singles championship and Nassau County doubles championship. Roslyn’s Ethan Solop defeated county champion Samarth Deepudass from Herricks, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5, for fifth place. Russell Notaris and Bryan Bin of Friends Academy beat county champions Nikhil Shah and Devan Melandro, 6-3, 6-3.

The Suffolk County doubles champions James Yu and Eric Benderly from Commack nearly staged another in a series of comeback wins during the third-place match. Ultimately they lost to Owen Zerbib and Jinyang Li of Mamaroneck, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3) and took fourth place.


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