Warren County High School tennis ace Alessandro Prando advanced all the way to the region finals Monday in Cleveland where he lost to Jacob Johnson of Walker Valley.
Prando’s season came to an end with a 6-0, 7-5 defeat at Tinsley Park.
“The last set was high-level tennis with both players striking the ball very hard,” said WCHS tennis coach David Dunlap. “It was 6-5 in the last set and tied 40-40 when Alessandro came to the net. He hit a shot the other kid could not have returned, but it was out about an inch. Had Alessandro won that point, that would have tied it at 6-6 and it would have gone to a tiebreaker. I really would have liked Alessandro’s chances if he was able to force a third set because I could see the other kid getting flustered.”
Prando didn’t have an opponent due to injury in the region semifinals. Dunlap said Prando’s scheduled opponent also plays AAU basketball and injured his ankle during a basketball game over the weekend. That injury kept him out of Monday’s region tennis tournament.
The injury allowed Prando to advance to the finals unchallenged, but coach Dunlap said that may have been detrimental.
“His opponent had already played a match before the region finals and was warmed up and ready to go,” said Dunlap. “Alessandro got off to a really slow start. He lost his first set 6-0. I think it would have helped him if he had played an earlier match.”
With the win, Johnson of Walker Valley advances to the Spring Fling State Tournament. Prando is eliminated with the loss.
“Johnson is one of the best high school tennis players I have ever seen,” said Dunlap, a coaching veteran. “He’s probably one of the top three players in the state. I’d put Alessandro right there with him. Alessandro is probably one of the best five or six players in Tennessee.”
The loss ends the high school tennis season for Warren County.