The Menlo School boys' tennis program has achieved an unbeaten record only once in school history. That was the 1999 team that finished 23-0 while winning Central Coast Section and NorCal titles. The Knights, however, are in position to do that again.
Menlo improved to 22-0 and advanced to the semifinals of the CCS Team Tournament with a 7-0 victory over visiting Menlo-Atherton on Tuesday.
The top-seeded Knights will take on No. 5 Palo Alto (15-6), which upended No. 4 St. Ignatius, 4-3, at San Francisco State. The Vikings and Knights will play in the second semifinal on Wednesday at Courtside Tennis Club in Los Gatos at 2 p.m.
Second-seeded Saratoga (21-2) will face No. 3 Bellarmine (19-1) in the first semifinal at noon. The winners will meet Friday, also at Courtside, in the championship match at 2 p.m. Both finalists will advance to the CIF NorCal Championships set for May 21-22 in Oakley.
Palo Alto pulled the biggest surprise of the day by knocking off St. Ignatius. The Vikings came in with no expectations, especially after graduating a large senior class and then losing some other players who had expected to contribute.
Paly coach Andy Harader, who set up his lineup for a possible sweep in doubles and then had to bank on Nicky Hu in singles, got just that. Hu provided a 7-6, 6-4 victory at No. 1 and the Paly doubles tandems of Drew Pearson-Jujhaar Singh at No. 1, Grand Audet-Alex Freeman at No. 2 and Michael Li-Ryan Rasti at No. 3 all prevailed.
Pearson and Singh provided the clinching point with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 triumph.
Menlo ended Menlo-Atherton's fine season at 19-2. The Bears' loss was not unexpected as they cruised through the PAL Bay Division season unscathed this season at 14-0 and didn't have a lot of tough nonleague matches. M-A's previous toughest opponent likely was Gunn, which handed the Bears their first loss of the season a week ago.
Gunn (16-7) went on to earn the No. 6 CCS seed and advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to host Bellarmine on Tuesday, 7-0, at the Decathlon Club.
The Titans certainly didn't give up without a fight, despite the seemingly lopsided score. Senior Rajeev Herekar lost at No. 1 singles, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, and senior Bharat Reddy battled during a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) loss at No. 2 singles.
In doubles, Gunn's Simon Kaubisch and Roy Peleg dropped a tough 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-4) decision at No. 1 and teammates Jack Kwan and Paul Wang lost at No. 2, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
CCS TEAM TOURNAMENT
At Menlo 7, Menlo-Atherton 0
Singles -- J. Ball (M) d. Haley, 6-4, 6-4; P. Chase (M) d. Mitchell, 6-2, 6-1; Pham (M) Sarwal, 6-1, 6-4; A. Ball (M) d. Friedman, 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles -- Chan-Carlisle (M) d. Shah-Menninger, 6-1, 6-0; Morkovine-Sum (M) d. Brown-Giordano, 6-1, 6-1; Peltz-Hoag (M) d. J. Perkins-C. Perkins, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
Records: Menlo-Atherton 19-2; Menlo 22-0
At Decathlon Club
Bellarmine 7, Gunn 0
Singles -- James (B) d. Herekar, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; Taylor (B) d. Reddy, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5); Chung (B) d. Wolak, 6-1, 6-1; Chang (B) d. Jiang, 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles -- Schoebel-Menon (B) d. Kaubisch-Peleg, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-4); Standifer-Tashjian (B) d. Wang-Kwan, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5); Wadwani-Shankar (B) d. Macario-George, 6-1, 6-1.
Records: Gunn 16-7; Bellarmine 19-1
Other scores: Palo Alto 4, St. Ignatius 4; Saratoga 6, R.L. Stevenson 1