Dwight-Englewood's Nuzhny Outplays Sato

By Shwalb, Bob | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), May 16, 2016 | Go to article overview

Dwight-Englewood's Nuzhny Outplays Sato


Shwalb, Bob, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


OLD TAPPAN - For roughly two hours Sunday, Daniel Nuzhny and Chikaya Sato had scowls on their faces, and by Nuzhny's admission, looked as if they wanted to fight.

But as soon as their Bergen County tennis tournament small- schools first-singles final was over, Dwight-Englewood's Nuzhny and Cresskill's Sato were friends again. Big smiles appeared out of nowhere as they shook hands at the net.

"We have the same coach and practice together," Nuzhny said. "We're good friends. But on the court, the one thing you don't want to be is friends with your opponent. You have to be tough."

Nuzhny and Chikaya slugged it out with their rackets in an incredible match that ended with the best point of the day. Nuzhny's overhead smash ended an oohs-and-ahs rally that sealed his 6-4, 6-4 victory and second straight crown.

"Daniel started off with a big serve and after that I was on the run," Sato said. "I was trying to get that one shot to turn the tables, but I couldn't do it.

"He outplayed me on the big points today and I stumbled."

Nuzhny's shot also put the final touch on Dwight-Englewood's second consecutive win. The Bulldogs got triumphs from second- singles player Nikhil Kokra and the doubles pairs of Sam Garden/ Brandon Grill and Martin Yoon/Shanay Amin as they bested runner-up Saddle River Day, 18-13.

Nuzhny said the quality of tennis against Sato might've surpassed last year's thrilling finals victory over Saddle River Day's Thomas Wright. Nuzhny, a sophomore, could face freshman Sato in two more county finals.

"It's great for Bergen County tennis," Nuzhny said. "Hopefully we can keep the rivalry going and have the same high-quality tennis in the coming years."

One player who doesn't prescribe to that plan is Dwight- Englewood's Kokra, who won his second straight second-singles title by downing Glen Rock's Joe Shulkin, 6-1, 6-2. …

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