Canfield’s Cianciola still alive in district tennis play

Cianciola needs

one more victory

By Brian Dzenis

Tim Cianciola hasn’t punched his ticket for Mason just yet, but he’s in a much better place than he was last year.

After the first day of Division I district play at the Springside Racquet & Fitness Club in Akron, the Canfield junior is out of contention for a district title, but is in a win-and-in situation for a state tournament birth.

If Cianciola can beat Highland’s Isaac Hadler on Saturday, he will qualify for the state for the first time since his freshman season.

“It’s tough losing, but I’m feeling confident,” Cianciola said. “I think I can do it and I’m really excited [for Saturday].”

Cianciola won his opening match against Cleveland St. Ignatius’ Andy Siciliano (6-1, 6-1), but lost the district semifinal match to Solon’s Vlad Rotnov (6-0, 6-3). The Comets’ senior and Cianciola have played each other before and Rotnov usually has the upper hand.

“I’ve always had a tough time with him,” Cianciola said. “Today I was just making too many errors and I didn’t get it done.”

He’s accustomed to postseason setbacks. After making the state tournament as a freshman, he and doubles partner Alfredo Almoyna ran into then eventual state champions in the opening round of districts. While they were one of two duos in the tournament to take a set from Copley’s Gustavo Garcia and Gavin Aten, they were eliminated. Between him and sisters Hannah and Sydney, he’s the only member of his family to miss out on a state tournament.

“It was very humbling, my sisters made it every year and I had to realize it wasn’t going to happen for me,” Cianciola said. “I’ve always been there with them and I never had the experience of not going. It was good for me to experience that and I really want to make it this year.”

Coming into districts as a sectional champion helped him avoid running into a buzzsaw.

“We like his chances,” Canfield coach Pat Pavlansky said. “We hope he plays well and we’ll see what happens.”

Both of Canfield’s doubles teams were eliminated on Thursday. Dylan Todd and Rajan Taneja lost in straight sets to St. Ignatius’ Richie Hofstra and Brian Zhu (6-1, 6-2). Bobby Long and Siria Nalluri fell to Kenston’s Parker Banning and Sam Cohen (6-7(5), 6-2, 6-2).

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