Minnetonka eighth-grader Isabella Lambert and Edina junior Caitlyn Merzbacher are quickly getting to know each other around the tennis court.
Lambert, whose sister Aria is a member of the Gophers women’s tennis team, and Merzbacher, who is the daughter of Gophers women’s tennis coach Chuck Merzbacher, each won two matches Thursday to advance to the Class 2A girls’ tennis tournament individual semifinals.
Their meeting in the semifinals Friday will be their second of the week at the University of Minnesota’s Baseline Tennis Center and third of the season.
Last month Merzbacher defeated Lambert in three sets in Edina’s dual-meet victory over the Skippers. On Wednesday, in the Class 2A team championship match won by Edina, Lambert defeated Merzbacher in straight sets.
“They’re both extremely good players,” Minnetonka coach Dave Stearns said. “It will come down to who can be consistent and stay with their game plan.”
Lambert, who is playing in the state individual meet for the first time after playing for the Skippers in the team portion last year, has been consistent all season.
Last month at the Rochester Mayo Invitational, she handed defending state champion Summer Brills of Mounds View her only loss of the regular season. Lambert, who has a 20-3 singles record, won the Section 2 singles title.
“In the section meet, she played three great matches in a row,” Stearns said. “She’s had a very good year. Her strengths are her focus and ability to concentrate. And she has an extra gear when she needs it. She’s been a lot of fun to watch.”
Top-seeded Brills in semis
Brills won two matches Thursday to advance to a Class 2A semifinal match for the third consecutive year.
Brills, who won a doubles title in 2012 and defeated Edina’s Sophia Reddy for the singles title last year, defeated Blake’s Jane Fraley in the first round and Mahtomedi’s Olivia Paradise in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Brills, a senior, will face Jordan Kopfer, an Eastview sophomore who advanced with victories over Orono’s Zoe Lindbloom and Elk River’s Meagan Brown.
Class 2A doubles
Reddy, an eighth-grader, and Edina’s Kelly Reger advanced to the Class 2A doubles semifinals with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Rochester Century’s Katherine Aney and Madison Kircher.
Reddy and Reger will meet St. Paul Central’s Helen Klass-Warch and Zoe Klass-Warch in the semifinals.
Aney teamed with her sister, Jessica, to win the Class 2A doubles title last year.
Class 1A singles
Defending Class 1A individual champion Sonya Das of St. Paul Academy advanced to Friday’s semifinals at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center with two victories.
Das defeated Trinity’s Jenny Mulvey and Taylor Kraemer of Osakis in straight sets to advance.
The other semifinal will feature Danielle Gannon of Holy Family against Claire Browning of Aitkin.
Breck teams in semifinals
Breck’s doubles teams of Patricia Zhao/Sunny Tang and Grace Zumwinkle/Kendall Kozikowski both advanced to the Class 1A doubles semifinals.
Zhao, who was the Class 1A singles runner-up last year, and Tang will face Eveleth-Gilbert’s Katelyn Rice and Alexia Brascugli.
Zumwinkle and Kozikowski will face Christina Smith and Julia Renner of Park Rapids. Smith and Renner placed fourth in last year’s meet.