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Men’s Tennis: Parbhu, Keckley win ITA doubles crown

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tuesday may have been a busy day for Irish junior Sheeva Parbhu, even painful at times after losing in the singles championship, but it proved to be rewarding when he and senior Ryan Keckley defeated Louisville’s Damar Johnson and Slavko Radman in the ITA Midwest Regional Doubles championship. Both couples fought hard to the end, forcing the match into a tiebreaker. The Irish duo outlasted their opponents able to come up with a 9-8(5) victory.Parbhu struggled in the beginning to return the strong serves of both Johnson and Radman, but Keckley was never far behind to help his teammate out. Keckley played the entire match consistently – returning almost everything the Louisville duo served him.”[Keckley’s] return was amazing,” Parbhu said. “He kept me in it.”Parbhu was able to turn it up later on in the match and got off needed shots and serves. Keckley continued to strike well, and the two were able to finish off Johnson and Radman.”They did an unbelievable job of staying focused and concentrated throughout the match,” Sachire said. “They did a good job of executing their shots on their serves.”Singles was a different story.Parbhu advanced to the finals of the ITA Midwest Regional Singles Championship with a 7-6(2), 6-4 win over Ohio State’s Devin Mullings – a win that placed him in the finals against Mullings teammate, Steven Moneke. En route to the finals, Moneke defeated Irish senior Stephen Bass 7-6, 3-6, 6-4. Parbhu put up a strong fight in the first set of the match forcing Moneke into a 7-6(2) tiebreaker. Assistant coach Ryan Sachire praised Parbhu’s efforts in the first set, but felt he had the potential to win it.”Sheeva had opportunities to win that match and let them slip away,” he said.Both Parbhu and Moneke battled with fatigue throughout the match, the third for each. Parbhu, however, did not feel that the long day was a factor in the match since both players had endured similar trials. Parbhu even felt Moneke was more fatigued after playing longer previous matches.After winning the first set on the tiebreaker, Moneke followed up with a second win, taking the match 7-6(2), 6-2. Sachire felt that Moneke’s high level of play was a good challenge for Parbhu.”He’s an unbelievable competitor and amazing athlete,” Sachire said of Moneke. “He doesn’t make stupid mistakes.”Sachire also noted Moneke’s ability to strike from the baseline. He felt Moneke was a strong consistent player that challenged everyone he dueled.”If you lose your concentration for a second, he’s going to take advantage of that,” Sachire said. “He makes you earn every point.”