Rhinelander High School senior Markus Johnson wrapped up his final high school career boys' tennis match on Thursday at the Division 2 WIAA State tennis meet. Johnson fell to eighth-seed freshman Alex Sviatoslawsky of Madison Edgewood in the first round at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison.
Although Sviatoslavsky blanked Johnson 6-0, 6-0, it still marked a big accomplishment for the RHS boys' tennis program under Coach Bob Heideman. It was the first boys' tennis WIAA state qualifier since 2008 when Rahul Jain advanced his senior season for Division 1.
The match was finished in under an hour with the opening set proving to be the biggest struggle for Johnson. Sviatoslavsky played a nearly flawless first-set and was able to cruise to the first 6-0 win in about 15 minutes time. Johnson finished his senior season with a 9-5 record even after dealing with a shoulder injury near the end of the season.
Sviatoslavsky would go on to win his next match 6-0, 6-0 against Nick Bourdo of East Troy. Sviatoslavsky would then face top-seed Casey Johnson of Kohler and would fall 6-2, 6-1. Sophomore Dale Pablo of Brookfield Academy went on to earn the 2018 D2 state title.
Rhinelander High School senior, Markus Johnson despite battling a shoulder injury throughout the season was one of eight special qualifiers selected to take part in the WIAA Division 2 State boys' tennis tournament. The tournament will begin on Thursday in Madison at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
It also marks the first Rhinelander boys' tennis player to qualify for the state tournament in a decade. Johnson fell 6-4, 7-5 to Brayden Much of Sheboygan Falls last Wednesday in sectionals held in Kohler. Johnson went 9-4 on the season at No. 1 singles but missed several matches and bumped down to No. 2 doubles for a few matches due to a shoulder injury.
Johnson will be the lone Hodag to compete and is set to face freshman Alex Sviatoslavsky, an eight-seed in the first round of action. Sviatoslavsky has a perfect 16-0 record this season. The match is set to for 5:00PM. The winner will then play Friday at 11:00AM.
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