Tested early, Kankakee Valley Luke Sanderson found some breathing room during Friday's quarterfinals of the IHSAA state singles tournament.
Sanderson defeated Center Grove's Conner Andersen 7-5, 6-1 at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis to advance to today's semifinals. Sanderson (23-0) faces Fort Wayne Canterbury's Davis Huber at 11 a.m.
The other semifinal features Park Tudor's Danny Rayl (28-0) and Yorktown's Ian Landwehr (27-0).
Sanderson advanced to the quarterfinals two years ago, but said he still had some early-match jitters in his return.
"It helped calm me down a little since I was here before, but the nerves definitely came back at such a big stage," Sanderson said. "The first set, all of the games were close."
Sanderson loosened up in the second set, taking charge of the match.
"I really capitalized on my opportunities," he said. "Winning that first set definitely helped me in the second."
Sanderson has yet to been forced to a third set this year.
"I'm not too concerned about that. I'm very used to playing in tight situations," he said. "I've played in them in the past, and I can channel that energy.
"Winning (Friday) gives me the confidence to play with less pressure (today). I just have to focus on my game, put myself in position for my strong shots, be there mentally, play hard and hope for the best."