BLOOMINGTON — University High School tennis player Vishnu Anagani strongly adheres to a policy of learning from past misplays or mistakes, especially one he made in a third-round tiebreaker at last year's state tennis finals.
"I still practice the shot every day that I missed to lose that state match," Anagani said. "Every day I hit ten of those in, so I don't miss it again. It gave me a lot of motivation to put in the work to do better at state this year."
Anagani says the loss last year was particularly painful because it came on his birthday.
The extra work he's put in on the court since then already has begun to pay dividends. Anagani was among four U High players to capture a win in both singles and doubles Saturday to help the U High Green team to a 6-3 win over Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin in the championship match of the U High Early Season Invitational at the Bloomington Tennis Center.
Prior to defeating SHG's Logan Evans in a 10-point tiebreaker in the No. 3 singles slot, Anagani teamed with freshman Nihar Mothikuru for a 6-3 win over a Cyclones' team of Evans and Nolan Johnson in No. 2 doubles.
Mothikuru also won his No. 2 singles match over SHG's John Phalen in a tiebreaker.
"I stuck to my game plan," said Mothikuru of his singles win. "I was just trying to put balls in, hoping for (Phalen) to miss. It was good until the second set. I kind of broke down a little bit, but was able to hold serve and win the tie-breaker.
The U High No. 1 doubles team of Dorath Chamarthi and Brevin Knight captured its match over SHG's Phalen and Grant Sarnowski, before Chamarthi and Knight each won in the singles bracket.
Like Anagani, Chamarthi was a state qualifier a year ago. While he breezed to a 4-0, 4-1 win in his singles match over Sarnowski, he and Knight battled from behind to take a 7-6(4) win in the marathon doubles match.
Chamarthi and Knight are still working out the kinks of blending together as a doubles team.
"We figured it out at the end," said Chamarthi, U High's No. 1 singles player. "In the singles match, my serve placement was working really well and I was able to move the ball around and I wasn't missing."
While Chamarthi made quick work of Sarnowski, Knight went the distance with SHG's Mark Wykoff in a 4-1, 0-4, 10-8 No. 4 singles win.
"I got off to a hot start and then struggled a little bit in the second set," said Knight, who's also a member of U High's state-qualifying golf team. "I battled in the tiebreaker and came back."
U High split its squad for the six-team dual invite. The champion Pioneers' Green team advanced to Saturday's title match after defeating Galesburg, 8-1, and Central Catholic, 9-0, on Friday.
The Pioneers' Gold team, meanwhile, claimed a 7-2 win over Galesburg to capture third-place in the tournament.