Chris Kuhnle had not been extended to a third set all season, so why should things have changed for the Suffolk County boys tennis individual tournament? The Shoreham-Wading River junior lived up to his No. 1 seed, beating all four opponents he faced to capture the county singles title.
Kuhnle defeated the No. 2 seed, Stephen Gruppuso of Bayport-Blue Point, 6-2, 6-3, in the final last Wednesday at William Floyd High School. The result brought Kuhnle’s record to 25-0 and made him the first Shoreham boy to win a county crown since Christopher Cahill, who accomplished the feat over 20 years ago, according to Shoreham coach Debbie Lutjen.
“It was exciting,” Lutjen said.“He was excited that he won and I think he was confident that he could win if he played his game.”
Although Kuhnle hasn’t had to play a third set this season, he came awfully close in the semifinals against No. 4 Emmanuel Vacalares of East Islip. In what might have been Kuhnle’s toughest test this season, he triumphed, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).
Kuhnle had an easier time in the first two rounds, toppling Jack Flores of Huntington, 6-2, 6-1, and Lynus Fortaleza of North Babylon, 6-2, 6-3.
Next up for Kuhnle is the state tournament, which will start Thursday at the National Tennis Center in Flushing.
“He has confidence,” Lutjen said. “He wants to bring that confidence. He’s a very good player and he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now which is very important.”