116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — For a few days earlier this month it looked like the Iowa City West duo of Mukundan Kasturirangan and Luka Chackalackal might not get their shot at a Class 2A state doubles title.
During West's final regular-season match at Waukee, Kasturirangan suffered a knee injury forcing him to default. With the district meet coming up just five days after the injury, there was some doubt that the Trojan senior would be able to play.
Not only was Kasturirangan able to play in the district meet, he has excelled. Now, he and Chackalackal are just two wins away from that state title. The West duo opened state play with a pair of impressive wins Friday at the Clark Racquet Club as cold and rain forced the tournament indoors.
Kasturirangan and Chackalackal opened with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Neel Shah and Pranav Chandra of Cedar Falls and followed that up with a 6-2, 6-1 quarterfinal triumph over Ankeny Centennial's Caleb Peterson and Nic MacKaman.
Watching Kasturirangan move around the court, there were no signs of any lingering effects from the injury.
"It was scary," Kasturirangan said. "We thought maybe I wouldn't be able to play. The injury happened on the weekend and the districts were the next Wednesday where I had to play to get here.
"I was a bit scared about playing so soon, but I was able to get through it. Now, my knee is feeling great. No issues at all on the court."
Chackalackal was just hoping for the best.
"We decided to hold off and not make any judgments," Chackalackal said. "He rested a couple of days and then he was back on the court and he was doing really well."
Kasturirangan and Chackalackal face unseeded Gavin Pangan and Mazen Alsheikha from Pleasant Valley in the semifinals. They upset No. 3-seeded Arwind Sivakumar and Sudeep Gadde of Linn-Mar, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 in the first round, then downed Waukee's Sai Rayasam and Ayeden Fletcher in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-2.
"I think we have what it takes to win in all," Kasturirangan said. "That's certainly our goal"
West’s other doubles team of Samir Singh and BJ Wolf lost to the top seed, Kaden Taylor and Quinn Monson of Waukee, 6-4, 6-1, in the first round, then came back to beat Nile Christensen and Ethan Benscoter of Marshalltown, 6-1, 6-0 and Waukee's Rayasam and Fletcher, 2-6, 6-0, 1-0 (10-3). Linn-Mar's tandem came back to win its first-round consolation match, 6-3, 6-2 over Marshalltown's Jason and Kevin Strand before falling in three sets to James Matthews and Caden Rodning of Mason City.
The singles portion of the tournament was held at Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City. Cedar Rapids Washington's Grayson Zylstra was unseeded entering the meet, but advanced to the semifinals with wins over Marshalltown's Nicolas Price (6-0, 6-1) and Iowa City West's Jayden Shin (6-2, 6-3). Shin upset Pleasant Valley's Jake Dolphin, the No. 3 seed, 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round, then advanced with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Sam Brown of Des Moines Roosevelt.
"(Zylstra’s) match against Shin was a great chess match," said Washington Coach Tom Neff. "I feel Grayson has worked hard over the last three years and is now reaping the rewards."
Zylstra will meet No. 2-seed Daniel Lu of West Des Moines Dowling in the semifinals. Lu downed Linn-Mar's Ayush Kalia, 6-1, 6-0 in the quarters. Kalia won his opening round match over Waukee's Steven Danna, 6-1, 6-3. Kalia was then eliminated in the consolation round by Nicholas Launderville of Johnston in three sets.
Kennedy's Parker Sprague won his opening match, then fell to No. 1-seed Will Ecklund of Waukee in the quarterfinals and followed that up with a loss to Dolphin in the consolation round.
Iowa City West's Eli Young, seeded fourth won his first match, 6-0, 6-1 over Mason City's Reed Kruger, then got upset by Ankeny Centennial's Will Blevins, 6-1, 6-2 in the quarters and came back to beat Council Bluffs Lincoln's Dalton Pregon 6-2, 6-0 in consolation play.
With better weather in the forecast for Saturday, all matches are expected to be held outdoors at Veterans Memorial Tennis Center. Play is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.