Rohan Shastri wins state individual tennis title 'completely for Greylock'
SHREWSBURY -- Rohan Shastri has always wanted to win something for Mount Greylock.
Shastri, once No. 1 in New England on the USTA junior tour, has won at plenty of big, national tournaments. Never, though, has he won one as a Mountie.
"This is completely for Greylock," Shastri said, cradling his state singles championship trophy. "Even though it's an individual title, it's good to wear the Greylock shirt. It felt so good. It felt amazing."
Shastri earned that trophy with a taxing 7-6 (1), 6-1 victory over Wayland's Will Sharton in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's boys singles championship at Saint John's in Shrewsbury. The victory may not have been the senior's smoothest, but he battled through double faults and unforced errors to win one for his school.
"I returned well and I grinded out the match which again, I've been stressing all year," Shastri said. "I need to grind the points out, fight for long points. I did a good job of that, but my serve was awful. My serve was awful."
Just hours earlier, Shastri's serve had been a key weapon in his 6-2, 6-1 semifinal victory over BC High's Charles Shewalter. Shewalter, just a sophomore, was unbeaten entering the match. After Shastri led 3-2 in the first set, though, Shewalter won just one of the final 10 games.
"He has a big serve and he uses it," Shewalter said. "When it goes in, it's really hard to return. When the pressure's going and you think it too much, trying to return a serve like that really gets to you. It breaks you down."
Sharton defeated defending state champion Chris Ellis of St. John's of Shrewsbury in the other semifinal.
Shastri and Sharton both struggled to land serves in the championship. The match featured nine straight breaks after each held serve twice to start the match. Sharton twice had a chance to take the first set if only he could hold. He couldn't.
That opened the door for Shastri in the tiebreak. He controlled the play, finally landing some big forehands in a 7-1 victory.
"Rohan came out and played a lot of big points early," Sharton said. "Before I knew it I was down like 5-1. I tried to rally but he's too good."
Once Shastri got the first hold in an eternity at 2-0 in the second, momentum fully swung in his favor. But getting that hold wasn't easy. He had to save two break points, double-faulted away his first game point and finally finished the game off when he got a serve in and Sharton returned the ball into the net.
This was one trophy Shastri had to work for, at one point in the first set letting out a roar of frustration between games. An hour later, the senior was grinning after digging in the tennis trenches.
"[Sharton] doesn't miss," Shastri said. "I just had to compete and fight. That's the reason I won in the end because I don't think either of us played our best."
Rohan Shastri (Greylock) def. Charles Shewalter (BC High), 6-2, 6-1; Will Sharton (Wayland) def. Chris Ellis (St. John's), 6-1, 6-4.
Shastri def. Sharton, 7-6 (1), 6-1
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