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Eagles win undefeated showdown


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG -- It was an occasion worthy of the stadium court at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center, because the only thing bigger than the two undefeated Pinellas County Athletic Conference teams meeting was the two undefeated players facing off.

About 40 spectators gathered in the grandstand to watch St. Petersburg senior Alamgir Wali and East Lake senior Adel Naser play a tiebreaker, with Wali prevailing 9-8 (7-2).

Wali broke Naser early, taking a 3-1 lead, but Naser fought back late in the set, going up two breaks to serve for the match at 7-5.

"He was hitting a good ball every time. I really thought it was over," said Wali, who beat Naser 8-0 last season.

But the mistakes started building for Naser, and Wali broke back. Both held serve into the tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Wali hit a couple of drop shots that were impossible for Naser to reach with his height or speed. Still, half of Wali's points were Nasser misses.

"I made a lot of unforced errors, giving him the opportunity to get back into it," Naser said.

While the matchup of teams was anticipated by both sides, knowing it probably would be the most difficult match of the regular season, the Eagles (14-0) won 5-2 fairly easily to remain undefeated. With one match to play against Tarpon Springs, East Lake can all but claim the PCAC championship.

Rain stopped the match on Wednesday, and play continued on Thursday. The Green Devils took just one singles match and played without No.2 Zach Ferguson, who was expected to have a cast on his arm removed Tuesday. Instead, he'll have to wait at least another week to see if his broken arm has healed.

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