It wasn’t a frenzy, exactly, but Fynn Frenzel generated plenty of interest Friday on the long opening day of the MPA singles tennis tournaments.

Frenzel, a sophomore at Bonny Eagle, was one of the 96 boys and girls who advanced from regional competition to the culminating weekend.

Who was this kid with the alliterative name seeded ninth in the boys’ tournament? Why hadn’t anyone heard of him?

Frenzel, as it turns out, is an exchange student from Hannover, Germany.

“I am here since January,” said Frenzel, who won all but two of his regular-season matches, losing only to Conor Doane of Deering (No. 10) and Dariy Vykhodtsev of Thornton Academy (No. 2).

Jacob Greene of Waynflete wasn’t intimidated. For the second straight year Greene knocked out a ninth seed. He beat Frenzel 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the Round of 16 at Colby College in Waterville.

“There’s definitely something to be said for being the underdog,” Greene said. “But I also think coming in fresh and only having to play one match is also an advantage, one I would love to have rather than being the underdog.”

On Friday, Greene won a tough 7-5, 6-3 match with Yontz Sutton of Washington Academy. A basketball player from Bermuda with a YouTube dunking video, Sutton provided another international challenge for Greene.

“He was super athletic,” Greene said. “When he got his serve in, it was one of the stronger serves I’ve seen. And he got to everything, so that was tough.”

Originally scheduled for Colby, rain forced the first two rounds indoors to the Racket & Fitness Center in Portland. Sixteen boys and 16 girls will resume play Saturday in Waterville through the quarterfinal round with semis and finals scheduled for Monday at Bates College in Lewiston.

Matches began Friday at 8:30 a.m. and continued for more than 11 hours, a total of 63 matches involving 23 seeds and 72 unseeded players.

Zach Flannery of Hampden Academy, was first to punch his ticket to Saturday. Upon winning his early-morning match 6-0, 6-1 against Travel Lebel of Van Buren, Flannery learned his next opponent, sixth-seeded Peter Mao of Mt. Ararat, had withdrawn because of tendinitis.

Flannery will face another unseeded player, Kennebunk freshman Declan Archer, in the Round of 16. Archer knocked off Matt Morse of Camden Hills 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in the morning and No. 11 Alec Cyr of Caribou 6-0, 6-4 in the afternoon.

Eleven also proved an unlucky seed in the girls’ tournament. No. 11 Katrina Mason of Carrabec fell 6-1, 6-4 to Falmouth freshman Meredith Kelley, who had beaten Kelly Nicklaus of Caribou by an identical score.

Older sister Kate Kelley (No. 10) was the other seed to fall in the girls’ tournament, losing 7-5, 6-3 to Arielle Leeman of Morse. Three of the 12 boys’ seeds failed to advance.

Junior Izzy Evans of Greely, seeded fourth, beat Brunswick freshman Anna Parker in straight sets. Evans returned after spending her sophomore year in Spain.

“The roles were reversed and I was the upperclassman playing a freshman,” she said. “It was a lot of fun as a freshman because you have nothing to lose; you have three more years. Now I feel like I have to do well.”

Peter Gribizis, a Portland High senior, advanced to Saturday for the first time in four years. He rallied for a 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 victory over Darren Hanscom of John Bapst.

“I started to break down at the end of the second set,” said Gribizis. “I told myself to calm down and forget about all the bad shots I was hitting. I managed to have a pretty relaxed third set. But I’m not going to lie. I was worried.”

The reward for Gribizis is a morning match against No. 3 Nick Forester, the Falmouth sophomore who reached the semifinals last spring before a freak injury after stepping on a ball caused his withdrawal.

Taking note of a crowded lobby and upstairs observation area, Gribizis was reminded of his sport’s close-knit community.

“Everyone is really nice and supportive,” he said. “This can be a brutal sport, mentally. So even when you’re out there battling, you have tons of respect for the person across the net.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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