Kennebunk High junior Grace Campanella, the defending girls’ champion, is the No. 1 seed entering this weekend’s MPA singles tennis state championship. Joel Page/Staff Photographer

With rain in the forecast on Thursday night and strong winds and wet courts likely on Friday morning, the first and second rounds of the MPA singles tennis state tournament have been moved indoors.

Play is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday at Apex Racket & Fitness on outer Congress Street in Portland. Many players will have different report times, as the event shifts from outside courts at Lewiston High School.

Falmouth senior Nick Forester and Kennebunk junior Grace Campanella are the top seeds and defending champions, and each is guaranteed to be facing a different opponent should they return to the finals, scheduled for Monday afternoon at Bates College.

Neither of the No. 2 seeds took part in the tournament last spring. Dariy Vykhodtsev, a senior at Thornton Academy in Saco, took last season off from high school competition to concentrate on higher-level play. He lost to Forester in the 2017 semifinals when both were sophomores.

Elene Imnaishvili, a junior at Bangor, is an exchange student from the country of Georgia. She has yet to lose this spring.

The girls’ fifth seed is another exchange student, Regitze Jacobsen, a Mt. Desert Island sophomore who hails from Denmark. She is 11-0 and won eight matches by shutout.

“I look forward to the competition,” said Campanella, who beat her older sister, Rosemary, in last spring’s final. “I’m not worried. I’m just really excited and open to whatever happens.”

Campanella has dropped only three games all season, never more than one in a single match. With Rosemary now playing at Merrimack College, Grace no longer has to worry about being in the shadow of her sibling.

She said her mental game has gotten stronger and she is no longer as nervous as she once was.

“She has come alive as a leader on the team,” said Jacqui Holmes, coach of the Kennebunk/Wells co-op team. “She’s a captain for the first time. I see so much more personality coming through. She seems to be having a blast.”

The other girls seeded among the top six are Lincoln Academy sophomore Caitlin Cass at No. 3, Falmouth junior Meredith Kelley at No. 4 and Waynflete sophomore Morgan Warner at No. 6.

Behind Forester and Vykhodtsev in the boys’ draw are Kennebunk junior Declan Archer at No. 3, Waynflete senior Thorne Kieffer at No. 4, Greely freshman Leif Boddie at No. 5 and Freeport junior Clay Canterbury at No. 6.

Earlier this month, Forester defeated Vykhodtsev 6-4, 7-5 in a match played indoors at The Woodlands, where Forester trains in the winter.

“There’s obviously pressure because I want to win,” said Forester, who plans to continue his career at Bates, “but it doesn’t come from being the defending champ or the No. 1 seed. I’m a senior and will just try to enjoy it.”

Twelve boys and 12 girls received seeds. Each field will be whittled to 16 players by Friday night, with two more rounds Saturday scheduled on Lewiston High’s courts to get down to the final four.

Semifinals on Monday at Bates will begin at 9:30 a.m. with championship matches set for 1 p.m.


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