Who’s playing first singles? It depends on day

John Rios of Riverhead played in the only three-set match of the day, a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Zach Sacher of Southold/Greenport in fourth singles.

The differences are so slight that it may be impossible to say who is a better tennis player, Desi Tetrault or Anthony Losquadro. It can be close when they play each other in practice. That means tiebreakers, deuce points, three sets. Who is the better player, you ask? Well, that depends on the day or the direction the wind happens to be blowing.

“Flip a coin,” said Losquadro.

No wonder the two seniors on the Southold/Greenport high school boys tennis team have been trading the first and second singles positions back and forth.

Recalling a trip the two took to Boston last summer, Tetrault said they played on a number of different courts, but each time Losquadro won. “I couldn’t beat him, and then there are other times when he can’t beat me,” Tetrault said. “We both kind of learn from each other.”

No wonder a bemused look crossed Coach Andrew Sadowski’s face when he was asked before Tuesday’s match against Riverhead who would play first singles for the Clippers. Tetrault, the winner of the most recent challenge match between the two, was the one.

Both were winners, though, as Southold/Greenport scored a 6-1 win at Riverhead High School, the same result as when the two teams played on April 8.

Tetrault was put to the test by Riverhead’s plucky freshman, Seth Conrad. In the first set, Tetrault overcame a 3-1 deficit, and then he bounced back after being behind, 5-4, in the second set for a 7-5, 7-5 triumph. He outpointed his younger opponent, 75-67, in a tight match that featured some long, exciting rallies. It ended somewhat anticlimactically, on a double fault, Conrad’s second of the match.

Losquadro, meanwhile, had an easier time of it in his 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Devon Brewer.

Interestingly, Tetrault and Losquadro share something else in common. This season represents a tremendous jump forward for both of them.

For the past two years Tetrault was a doubles player, more out of team need than anything else. He partnered with Matt Marinace last season.

“I kind of always knew … that I was more of a singles player,” Tetrault said. “Just mentally, it’s easier to focus on the game when you don’t have to worry about a partner’s mistakes or worry about your own mistakes and having to feel bad.”

Losquadro was a second singles player for the junior varsity team last year, the first time he had ever picked up a tennis racket.

With 14 seniors on Southold/Greenport’s 15-player roster (sophomore Josh Robinson is the only non-senior), the competition for places in the lineup is tight. That helps explain why the Clippers have been doing so well, with a record of 7-2, both overall and in Suffolk County League VIII. Their win on Tuesday was their sixth in a row.

“It’s a nice run,” said Sadowski, whose team is 15-6 over the past two years. “We’re playing real nice tennis.”

Losquadro said: “We know we can beat other teams, even if they’re really good like William Floyd and Mattituck. We can compete against them. We certainly have a chance. You can’t count us out anymore.”

Don’t discount the first doubles team of K. J. Metz and Kevin Parma, who retained their perfect record on Tuesday with their ninth win from nine matches. The two Clippers beat Efe Erol and Andrew Plattner, 6-1, 6-0.

In the only three-set match of the day, Southold/Greenport received a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory by Zach Sacher in fourth singles. He defeated John Rios.

Robinson, who played first singles for the JV team last year, was a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Victor Camacho.

Southold/Greenport’s No. 2 doubles team of Jack O’Donnell and Tim Winters scored a 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Stephen Loquet and Leslie Lawerence.

The only win for Riverhead (1-9, 1-8) came in third doubles. Patrick Carroll and Geoff Wells teamed up for 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) victory over Dan Murphy and Elliot Shine.

Who will play first singles for the Clippers in their next game on Thursday against William Floyd? That’s a question for another day, and one that may not be particularly important.

“I think the most important part is not to worry about what position you play, as long as you get the W and get the win,” Losquadro said. “That’s what the whole team is looking for.”

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