MURFREESBORO – Wilson Central sophomore Michael Mercante’s opening day of the Class AAA Singles State Tournament at the Adams Tennis Center was a bit peculiar.
Mercante received a walkover into the semi-finals as Siegel sophomore Husain Al-Zubaidi failed to show due to an illness. This pitted Mercante against defending champion and University of Alabama signee Sam Fischer in the Thursday afternoon session for a spot in the finals.
Thought Mercante fought valiantly, but Fischer’s strong serve and forehand dominated play as the senior scored a 6-0, 6-0 win.
Fischer went on to claim his second consecutive championship, defeating Tennessee High School’s Stone Cozart 6-4, 6-4.
“I thought it was a great opportunity because I knew he was a great player, and that he was going to a great college to play,” Mercante said. “He hit the ball really well, I’ve played other kids who hit the ball hard and with spin, just not as consistently as he can.”
Mercante completed the most successful individual season in Wilson Central tennis history as he went 18-3 in singles matches, and became the second Wildcat in the program’s history to claim the District 9-AAA singles championship (Tyler Pullen – 2003).
The sophomore also became the first Wildcat to reach the state tournament by claiming the Region 5-AAA singles title.
“It was a great season for Michael, and to get to this point is great for him and does a lot of our program as a whole,” first year Wilson Central coach Ryan Jent said. “Since he’s went on this postseason run the amount of people that have come to me talking about how great of a kid that Michael is speaks volumes about him.”
Said Mercante; “I thought I had a really good season. One thing I improved on was my mental game over last season which helped get me here. I’m already ready for next season to get started.”