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FRANKFORT -- Antonio Soler Jiminez battled injury and a little bit of the elements, but couldn’t overcome his opponent in the 8th Region Tennis Tournament at Franklin County High School on Thursday.
Shelby County High School’s Soler Jiminez (15-1), a senior exchange student from Spain, rallied from a quick, first-set loss to North Oldham’s Cyrus Moslemi (16-0), but ultimately fell in a test of unbeatens, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Both Soler Jiminez and Moslemi, a junior, advance to next week’s state tournament, which starts Thursday at the University of Kentucky Boone/Downing Tennis Complex in Lexington.
Soler Jiminez said he started suffering with leg cramps at the end of his victorious second set, adding he briefly considered retiring when he was forced to take a 5-minute injury timeout midway through the final set.
“It hurt a lot, that’s all I can say,” he said in a brief interview after the match. An obviously hurting Soler Jiminez also requested the match be delayed in the third set when it started to sprinkle a bit of rain, but officials did not respond to the call.
Despite an unofficial total of 10 double-fault serves, Soler Jiminez continually rallied in each of the last two sets. “I didn’t play very well, and I didn’t play very bad,” he said.
Shelby County coach Jerry Buchert said Soler Jiminez put himself into a big hole in the first set, where Moslemi broke the Shelby County player’s serve three times.
“The first set, he couldn’t have played any worse,” said Buchert. “I told him he beat himself there with too many unforced errors. He beat himself there, but I told him he won the second set.”
Soler Jiminez rallied twice in the final set, first from a 1-3 deficit to knot the score at 3-3, and then again at 4-4.
Trailing, 4-5, he also commanded a 45-15 advantage over Moslemi in the 10th game of the set while holding serve, before the North Oldham player ran off four consecutive points to seal the match and the singles title.
Moslemi unofficially broke the serve of Soler Jiminez nine times, while losing serve himself six times. Moslemi had five aces or near-aces, while Soler Jiminez had four.
North Oldham and South Oldham were in a playoff to determine the Region boys’ championship at press-time, while North Oldham captured the girls’ title.