DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Gators move on to tennis semis -- are finals next?

Two-time defending singles champion Madison Clarke and the doubles team of Scarlet Rush and Caroline James won their Division I state tournament matches on Friday (May 1) to reach Saturday’s (May 2) semifinals at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.
Clarke, the top seed, easily dispatched No. 8 seed Julia Ortiz of Chandler 6-0, 6-0.
The Rush-James pair, the No. 3 seed, had a more difficult time of it against No. 6 seed Kiana Clarke and Meredith Kenny of Phoenix Horizon.
Rush and James won the first set 6-1 and had a 5-2 lead in the second before the Horizon duo rallied for a 7-5 win and forced a third set. Rush and James regrouped to win going away 6-0.
“Sometimes the other team gets on a roll where everything it does drops in and whatever your team is doing doesn’t work and the other team gets the momentum,’’ said Xavier assistant coach Amanda Martin. “Fortunately, we were able to re-gain our focus.’’
Singles and doubles semifinals are at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and if the Xavier teams win those, they would play in the finals at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Madison Clarke will face the No. 4 seed, Madi Moore of Scottsdale Desert Mountain, in the singles semifinal. Moore advanced by defeating Gabriela Lawlor of Goodyear Millennium 7-5, 6-2.
Rush and James will meet the No. 2 seed, Rebecca Salaway and Grace Koester of Scottsdale Chaparral. The Chaparral duo defeated Millennium’s Brandi Sylvan and Emily Smith 6-1, 6-1.

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