Shady Side’s Dua, North Allegheny’s Li, Lee capture PIAA tennis titles
HERSHEY — The WPIAL was well represented on Saturday at Hershey Racquet Club for the conclusion of the girls high school tennis season at the PIAA championships.
Of the 16 total remaining slots entering Saturday’s semifinal play in two classifications, seven belonged to players from District 7.
Two championship matches were all-WPIAL affairs and a third final featured yet another local pairing.
Ananya Dua, a junior from Shady Side Academy, won the state title in Class AAA singles by defeating North Allegheny rival Anna Li, 6-1, 6-1.
The Tigers didn’t leave Hershey without gold, however. Tina Li and Eugenia Lee beat Fox Chapel’s Laurel Shymansky and Amanda Nord to capture gold in Class AAA doubles 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
The sister pairing of Anne and Mattie Taylor of Beaver lost in the championship match at Class AA doubles to Mercyhurst Prep’s Lauren Petrella and Cait Schultz, 6-2, 6-0.
Dua made it four wins in four tries against Li this season by putting on a shot-making clinic. Just about everything the Shady Side junior tried, she pulled off. Alley winners, drop shots and deep lobs to the baseline all landed for scores. She lost the first game of the second set, then ripped off six in a row.
“I was a bit surprised,” Dua said. “I certainly didn’t think it was going to be 6-1, 6-1. I thought it might even go three sets because it was the final. But I was surprised that I was actually playing so well.”
Li defeated Upper St. Clair’s Charlotte Madson, 6-3, 6-3, in her semifinal.
Li’s twin sister, Tina, teamed with freshman Eugenia Lee to win the doubles title for North Allegheny.
Lee and Li overcame multiple match points during the second set to stage a comeback, down a set and sitting at 3-5 in the second set, against Fox Chapel’s tandem of Shymansky and Nord.
“I’m speechless right now,” Lee said. “We almost lost, with all of those match points we had to overcome. (Coming back) gave us energy, and it kept accumulating during the rest of the match.”
After a three-set semifinal, Beaver’s Anne and Mattie Taylor ran out of gas in the final.
Michaela Kluska of Greensburg Central Catholic lost her Class AA singles semifinal to Bronwyne Mellott of District 5’s McConnellsburg, 6-1, 7-6 (2).
Jeff Dewees is a freelance writer.