Nation Ford’s Akhil Kanthamneni returns a serve during his match at No. 4 singles for the Falcons Monday evening.

The run for the Nation Ford tennis team continues as they shutout the Riverside Warriors 5-0 to advance to the Upper State title match Wednesday winning their third-round playoff match.

Nation Ford will now hit the road to face JL Mann, who beat the Falcons earlier in the season 4-2 for one of their only losses on the season. In the Lower State championship, River Bluff will travel to Wando to see who will head to the 5A state championship at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 7 at the Eddie Floyd Tennis Center in Florence.

In their match Monday, Nation Ford cruised for the most part and had just a couple of hiccups in the No. 4 and No. 5 singles matches.

At No. 1 through No. 3 singles, the Falcons won in straight sets.  At No. 1 singles, Nation Ford’s Juan Arbelaez won 6-0, 6-1 and Ian Drane won at No. 2 singles for the Falcons at 6-1, 7-5. Charlie Lynch had the easiest match for Nation Ford at No. 3 singles winning 6-0, 6-0.

Things came down to the final two singles matches to see if the No. 2 doubles team would be forced to play, but that match turned out to be unnecessary as Nation Ford won in a third set tiebreaker in both the No. 4 and No. 5 singles matches.

At the No. 4 singles Akhil Kanthamneni won falling 5-7 in the opening set, but bounced winning the second set 6-4 to tie the match and then won the third set 10-6 locking in the win for the Falcons.

The No. 5 singles match was just as intense as Ziad Baki won for Nation Ford winning the first set 6-3, but falling 4-6 in the second set forcing the third set. In the third set, Baki was able to get a 12-10 win for the Falcons sweep.  

Mac Banks:, @fortprep