Bernstine battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the first set to defeat John Battle’s Reed Crabtree 6-3, 6-1 in the VHSL Class 2 boys singles tennis championship at the Virginia Tech tennis complex.
The state singles title was Bernstine’s first. His brother Chase, a freshman at Virginia Tech, won three state singles championships.
Against Crabtree, Bernstine (12-1) fell behind early in the first set but used a strong serve and an aggressive attack to win five straight games to take the set.
“I try to be as aggressive as possible. I try to get to the net and try to keep control of the points,” said Bernstine, a junior.
The state championship match was the first for Crabtree. The Radford signee said Bernstine adjusted his game as the match progressed.
“I came out pretty strong. I think I surprised him. But he’s a great player with the way he adapts to everything,” Crabtree noted. “I hit this one shot and he’s ready for it the next time. So I’ve got to keep changing my game. He’s just that good of a player to keep rotating his style.”
Neither finalist had too much difficulty in the state semifinals, also played on Thursday. Bernstine defeated George Mason’s Noah Surrette and Crabtree dispatched Noah Hutchens of Galax, both by scores of 6-0, 6-1.
LOCALS FALL IN GIRLS SEMIFINALS
In the Class 2 girls semifinals, Ridgeview’s Riley Mullins fell to Radford’s Logan Graham 6-2, 6-1.
Mullins said she knew the match would be a tough one.
“I knew she won state maybe the last two years in singles and I knew they won state in team competition. And they had a record of 52 (straight) wins. I knew they had a really good record and she was going to be tough,” she said.
Mullins, a senior, had previous experience with Graham, who defeated her last week in state quarterfinal team play. Graham went on to lose to Anna Soffin of Maggie Walker 6-0, 6-1 in the Class 2 final.
J.I. Burton’s Kira Sturgill also faced her singles semifinals opponent, Taylor Reed of Auburn, last week in the Class 1 team quarterfinals.
Sturgill fell to Reed in the team competition and again Thursday. Last week’s match went three sets but the singles semifinals match was a 6-2, 6-1 decision.
“She made a lot of adjustments. Very good adjustments that I had not particularly prepared for,” Sturgill noted. “That definitely made a difference in the game.
“She went from her backhand a lot more. Mostly last time she was moving across the court. This time she just stayed in that one side. And she did a lot more short shots this time and a lot more slices.”
Reed captured the Class 1 title, 7-5, 6-0 over Chloe Sanderson of Mathews.