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Matt Kandath helps New York Buzz in home opener

Matt Kandath won two New York state high school singles titles and has competed at several national junior tennis tournaments.

Those achievements paled in comparison to what the Gansevoort native did last Friday.

Kandath started for the defending World Team Tennis champion New York Buzz in their home opener against Philadelphia at the University at Albany's SEFCU Arena, and the Albany Academy graduate held his own. He didn't lose a game on his serve in men's doubles and mixed doubles as he helped the Buzz defeat the Freedom 23-14.

It was awesome, said Kandath. "Winning the match was a bonus, but it was great just to be out there competing. It was a great experience."

"He played unbelievably well," said Andres Pedroso, who was filling in for Buzz coach Roger Smith. "He definitely shined in the doubles."

Kandath and the Buzz's other three starters " Lauren Embree, Allie Will and Jarmere Jenkins " were pressed into service since the team's regular four-person roster was in London last weekend competing in the junior draw at Wimbledon.

Philadelphia was also shorthanded, as regular starters Madison Keys and Lisa Raymond were not in the lineup. Still, the Freedom had veteran professionals Nathan Healey and Travis Parrott, who between them had won six ATP doubles championships.

That didn't seem to bother Kandath and Jenkins in the opening men's doubles set. Kandath held serve in his two games and scored several points on volleys as he and Jenkins defeated Healey and Parrott 5-3.

"I was pretty nervous going in, but I was hitting my shots and that helped me relax a bit," said Kandath.

"He made a lot of first serves," said Pedroso. "He didn't go for huge serves, but he made good decisions."

What gave Kandath some confidence was his cumulative tennis experience, which included state high school singles titles in 2007 and 2008.

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