If there were any doubts about Laura Reichert's desire to win the Virginia AAA singles tennis title, the Madison senior quickly put them to rest on a steamy Friday with a dominating semifinal victory over Michele Fanney of Cox, 6-1, 6-3.
Since winning her third consecutive Northern Region title last month, Reichert has been on a mission to capture the one trophy that has eluded her. Last season, Reichert dropped a three-set match to runner-up Lindsay Howard of Mills Godwin, and then watched as South Lakes' Jessica Keener captured the title.
With both Keener and Howard knocked out of the tournament, Reichert will face Zineb Elouazzani of Hampton on Saturday. Keener suffered a 6-4, 6-0 loss to Howard in the quarterfinals earlier in the day. Elouazzani then survived a baseline slugfest against Howard for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory.
"I knew it was hot out here," Reichert said. "I knew I had to come out and play from the beginning so that it wouldn't take so much out of me. It feels good to get to the final."
Reichert rattled Fanney early with her all-court game, securing a break in the first game of the match en route to a 5-0 lead. The lefty continued to force play in the second set behind strong approach shots, often punctuated with acrobatic volleys.
In the boys' semifinals, Chantilly's Thomas Nolan overcame back spasms to advance to the final when his semifinal opponent, Ben Wirth of Ocean Lakes, was forced to retire after the first game of the third set with severe cramps. Nolan will face Patrick Henry's Bo Edwards, who defeated Mike Smith of Robinson, 6-3, 6-4. Against Wirth, Nolan had tied the match at one set apiece (4-6, 6-3) and was leading 1-0 in the third when play was stopped. Nolan was forced to call an injury timeout of his own in the first set after he began to feel pain in his back.
"I just found a way to win," Nolan said. "Once I stretched, it felt a little bit better. "
In doubles, Robinson boasts three teams in the semifinals on Saturday. Northern Region girls' champions Lindsey Hardenbergh and Christine Tran will face Fanney and Whitney Stevens of Cox. Robinson's Drew Courtney and Smith, the Northern Region boys' champions, will play Chris Maroon and Cambridge Hines of Cox. Matt King and brother Riley will play Austin Brawley and Reid Jordan of Cox.
Madison's Reichert and partner Alex Miagkov will play Meredith Cutchin and Stephanie Macdisi of Princess Anne.