Chesterton Tribune



Haiduc lifts Trojans past Slicers in tennis

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A four-year old Romanian boy borrowed his grandpa’s wooden racket and a tennis career was born.

He just didn’t know it would develop somewhere far, far away.

Not long after that first time on the court, Fabio Haiduc, his mom and step sister left the southeastern European country to join his father in the United States.

Young Fabio’s game, not to mention his equipment, improved, as he began honing his play through lessons and United States Tennis Association competition, earning the No. 2 singles spot on a strong Chesterton team as a freshman. With the one position open this season, Haiduc moved up to the top spot, where he’s more than held his own for a Trojans squad that’s managed to keep a good thing going despite the departure of 12 seniors that included five starters and two captains.

"It’s exciting,” Chesterton coach Tom Bour said after Tuesday’s 3-2 Duneland Athletic Conference thriller with LaPorte at Kesling Park. “I’m happy for the guys. Fabio and Troy Feller are the only ones who played varsity. It’s pride. The goal this year was to win back the conference.”

The Trojans (8-1, 5-0) stayed on track to do so, but just barely, needing a 7-5 third-set win by Haiduc over Quentin Spears to escape with the win.

“That was fun,” Bour said. “That’s what high school tennis is all about. (LaPorte coach) Don (Varda) and I get along great. The boys are competitive, but they all get along great.”

With the other four courts all determined in two sets, all eyes were on Haiduc and Spears, who split sets, 6-4 to Spears and 6-0 to Haiduc.

“For the team, I haven’t really played a three-set match because I usually finish so fast or I lose to them fast,” Haiduc said. “I’m not used to everyone around me cheering. I tried to ignore it as best I could.”

Haiduc kept Spears at arm’s length the whole set, closing out the victory and the match with a forehand passing shot as Spears approached the net, after which he was swarmed by his teammates.

“I hit a short ball and he just killed it right at me,” Haiduc said. “I managed to hit it from the bottom, he just lobbed it back and I was like, I have to win it on this one. I think I played through (the pressure) pretty well. I was happy I won because it took so long. That’s never happened where everyone just mobbed me.”

Bour stressed patience throughout the whole decisive set and while Haiduc didn’t necessarily heed the advice all the way, he got the job done.

“Coach Matt (Adams) and I were back here watching, saying he doesn’t have this situation very often, he’s either smoking someone or getting smoked,” said Bour, who has worked with Haiduc both at the former Northwest Athletic Club and now at the Courts of Indiana. “What I liked about his third set was he got up early. What we kept telling him was, keep making him chase you. The biggest adjustment we made was he was just going for too much too early. We told him just stay in the point, kind of work the point. He was a little more patient down the stretch. He’s hard to get a bead on. There’s no emotion. I was telling coach Matt, we got a couple fist pumps out of him. That was nice. We were very happy he was able to pull it out.”

Playing an adjusted lineup with usual No. 3 singles player Ethan Wilmsen at two doubles, Varda liked his chances on those two courts. It was a matter of finding a point in singles, but Drake Redman and Feller made short work of Brock Schultz (6-0, 6-2) and Graham Siefker (6-0, 6-0).

"We knew Chesterton was great at singles,” Varda said. “I felt like we had an advantage at doubles. They’ve been strong all year. My hope was we’d be competitive at one and three. The last time we played, it went down to the wire, three sets, but (Feller) played extremely well. He’s the ultimate three. He’s not hitting any balls out. I kind of liked our lineup. Ethan, a freshman, with a seasoned senior (Austin Ake). The lineup kind of happened by accident, but it gave us good opportunities on each court. Fabio’s a good player. Quentin took him to the limit. I’m happy he battled and gave us a chance to beat the best team in the conference.”

Carson Stalbaum and Liam Wolf downed John Powell and Brock Redman 6-3, 7-6, at one, with Ake and Wilmsen dispatching John Petro and David Archbald 6-3, 6-3, at two to even the match.

Chesterton 3, LaPorte 2


SINGLES -- 1. Fabio Haiduc (C) d. Quentin Spears 4-6, 6-0, 7-5; 2. Drake Redman (C) d. Brock Schultz 6-0, 6-2; 3. Troy Feller (C) d. Graham Siefker 6-0, 6-0.

DOUBLES -- 1. Carson Stalbaum-Liam Wolf (LP) d. John Powell-Brock Redman 6-3, 7-6; 2. Alex Ake-Ethan Wilmsen (LP) d John Petro-David Archbald 6-3, 6-3.

RECORDS: Chesterton 8-1 (5-0 DAC), LaPorte 9-3 (3-2).


Posted 9/16/2020




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