CORNELIUS Ardrey Kell’s Josh Du Toit entered the tennis season wanting to make up for a disappointing showing in last year’s state tournament.
Du Toit will get that chance after winning his second straight NCHSAA 4A West Regional singles title Saturday at Hough High School.
Du Toit rolled past Riley Brosnan of Charlotte Catholic 6-1, 6-0 in the final to get the regional’s No. 1 seed in next week’s 4A state championships in Raleigh.
Brothers Ryan and Sean Wydra won Hough High’s first-ever regional title, beating Asheville T.C. Roberson’s Jason Horecky and Coleman Baker in three sets, 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 in the boys doubles final.
Du Toit, the U.S. Tennis Association’s North Carolina boys junior player of the year in 2013, was among the favorites to win last year’s 4A state title as a junior. But he was eliminated in the second round – a showing that left a bitter taste in Du Toit’s mouth.
“It sure was a motivation,” said Du Toit, currently ranked fourth in the state in the USTA’s 18-under boys singles. “I didn’t like the way I went out last year. I thought I could do better than that.”
Du Toit, the West Regional’s top seed in singles, only lost two games total in two match wins en route to the final against Brosnan, who won the 3A West Regional title last year and advanced to the 3A state final before losing to Robert Kelly of Raleigh’s Cardinal Gibbons.
“I was worried about going against Riley,” Du Toit said. “I’ve known him since I was 7, and we’ve trained together a long time.”
However, Brosnan appeared to have problems with the intermittent and gusty winds at Hough on Saturday, especially on his serve. After holding serve in the opening game against Du Toit, he lost serve five straight games.
“Yeah, it was kinda messing with me a little bit, especially towards the end of the match,” Brosnan said. “But if I’m going to lose to somebody, then I’d rather lose to (De Toit). He’s gotten so much better over the years. Losing to him is like losing to a friend.”
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