Franklin Regional tennis closing in on 21st section title

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Saturday, April 10, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Anup Nadesan didn’t have any problems winning his second WPIAL Class AAA Section 1 title.

He dominated Albert Gallatin senior Nate English in the finals, 6-0, 6-0.

But the Franklin Regional senior has bigger goals. He wants to win a WPIAL title and qualify for the PIAA tournament. His previous WPIAL experiences haven’t gone as he’s hoped: a first-round loss in 2018 and a second-round loss in 2019.

The coronavirus stopped all spring sports in 2020.

“We had big hopes for 2020,” Nadesan said. “We’re looking to do what we couldn’t do in 2020.”

The Panthers (5-0, 4-0) are on the verge of winning their 21st section title. They are coming off a 5-0 win against Penn-Trafford on April 6.

Nadesan, Shrey Ramesh, Advait Kulkarni and Vishal Thulasiram have been part of two section titles in 2018 and 2019.

Franklin Regional coach Howard Fisher said Nadesan played his best match of the season in the section finals.

“My serve was too much for him and I played solid,” Nadesan said. “I frustrated him.”

Franklin Regional still has section matches against Kiski Area and Latrobe, two teams battling for playoff berths.

But don’t expect the Panthers to take their opponents lightly.

“There is no chance we’re letting up,” Ramesh said. “We’re a tight group, and we’re battling for the same goals.”

The Panthers also have nonsection matches scheduled against Fox Chapel and North Allegheny. Fisher said Upper St. Clair wants to play too.

“I want to see how we match up against teams,” Fisher said. “We’ll play anyone.”

Franklin Regional opened the season by defeating Mt. Lebanon, 4-1.

“That showed me we have what it takes to win a title,” Nadesan said.

Fisher added: “This is a tight-knit group. These kids do things together. They have a special bond.”

Franklin Regional has a solid 10 players. Nadesan, Ramesh and Kulkarni are the singles players and Thulasiram and sophomore Aditya Arkalgud make up the first doubles team.

The second doubles team is junior Prerit Yadav and freshman Dhruv Kulkarni.

The trio of juniors — Abhinav Komanduri, Atharva Mayekar and Urvish Jain — have also played doubles.

“Everyone on the varsity roster will earn a letter,” Fisher said. “They have to be ready to play at any moment.

“These guys have done a great job overcoming the challenges that faced them. I tell them never take anything for granted. I tell them about the 2011 team that thought they were good and didn’t win.”

But Fisher said the leadership provided by Nadesan and Ramesh won’t let the team slack off.

“They guys work hard and are dedicated,” Fisher said.

And that’s what makes Franklin Regional a powerful program.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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