Wellesley rising senior Ilya Levin is right at home competing among the top 32 junior tennis players in New England. and when the 6th-ranked under-18 player in Massachusetts takes the court against the best of the best, he prefers to be near home too.
Levin capped off a terrific summer of top-tier tournament tennis with a quarterfinal appearance at this week's New England Junior Hard Court Championships in Hartford, Conn.
Levin, seeded-sixth, rolled through his first round match without surrendering a single point to Tyler Capasso.
Winchester's Christian Boulanger fared only slightly better against Levin in the second round, falling 6-1, 6-2 as Levin advanced to face fourth-seeded Richard Robbie.
Robbie, who along with partner Roy Skinner had upset the second-seeded Levin and partner Michael Rosengren in the first round of the Boys 18 Doubles drawn, knocked Levin into the Boys' Singles backdraw with a 6-2. 6-0 win.
Seventh-seeded Brandon Roode sent Levin home with 6-4, 6-2 win in the backdraw.
Levin did even better at the Herb Schachter Memorial Junior Clay Court Championships last month in Beverly, reaching the semifinals in both singles and doubles competition.
"It always gets real hard when you are playing in these type of tournaments," said Levin. "When you add travel and staying in a hotel for days at a time, it really gets harder to win each match."
Levin lost to top-seeded Beck Bond in the singles semifinals while he and partner Christian Boulanger were knocked out of the doubles draw by Arlington's Matt Lipinski and partner Spencer Canny.
Levin expects the long summer of competition to have him ready to lead the Raider's state title defense next spring as well as help prepare him for a potential collegiate tennis career.
"These tournaments bring a lot better competition than High School," said Levin. "I'll be ready."
Levin, who plans to study chemistry or biology in college in hopes of one day becoming a doctor or a dentist, lists Johns Hopkins, Case Western Reserve, Loyola-Maryland and the University of Rochester among his top collegiate choices.