Patrick Manalich
Patrick Manalich
Entering the third set of his No. 2 singles match Tuesday against Greenville, Emerald High School tennis player Patrick Manalich faced a simple situation.
Lose the third set and match, and he would have to play No. 1 doubles to decide who would go on to the second round of the Class AAA playoffs. Win, and the Vikings would clinch, rendering No. 1 doubles unnecessary.


Fighting off cramps at the end of a thrilling match that lasted 2 1/2 hours, Manalich persevered, pulling out a 10-3 triumph against Greenville's Tillman Chase in the third set. That win propeled Emerald past the Red Raiders to a 4-2 victory.
Emerald (12-3) will travel Thursday to Clinton in the second round of the postseason.
With Emerald leading 3-2, Manalich's victory of 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (6-8), 10-3 proved to be the clincher, but it didn't come without a fight in what Manalich called one of the toughest matches of his life as he walked off the court.

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