The Amherst senior defeated Hamburg sophomore Matt Kane, 6-0, 7-6 (4) for his first section crown on Wednesday, May 23 at Lancaster High School. Binder has been runner-up at sectionals the last two years.
"It's a great feeling to go out with a win in my senior year," said Binder, who is 68-0 lifetime in ECIC league play. "I was playing well pretty much the whole tournament."
"I'm ecstatic," added Amherst coach Eric Damiani. "It's what he's been shooting for all year."
Binder said he would have liked the chance to avenge last year's section final loss to Southwestern's Chris Post, but unfortunately Post lost his semifinal against Kane, 3-6, 1-6, and had to withdraw from his third-place match with Maple Grove's Dusty Nelson because of flu-like symptoms.
Binder and Kane are no strangers to each other. They have faced each other several times in practice sets at the Village Glen Tennis Club, once when Amherst and Hamburg were in the same division (Binder won), and a week earlier when Binder defeated Kane, 6-4, 6-2, for his fourth straight ECIC singles crown.
While Binder owned the first set of the final, he had to climb out of a 3-0 deficit in the second-set tiebreaker to claim victory.
"After I was down 3-0 in the break, he missed a couple of forehands in a row and I could see he was getting tight," said Binder, who will play tennis at Division III Williams College. "Once I got the three points back, that's when I knew all I had to do was get one point on serve because I was winning on my service points. I got the break at 5-3 and I felt confident I had the match."
"If I would have hit a few shots in the tiebreaker, it could have put me up 5-0. Instead it turned out to be 3-2," said Kane. "Then he just served real well and there was really nothing I could do about it."
Binder beat Nelson, 6-3, 6-4, in the semifinal. In earlier rounds, Binder defeated Alleghany's Bryce Barker, and Kenmore East's Bryan Papaj by 6-0, 6-0 scores. In addition to defeating Post, Kane beat City Honors' Jerome Bunkley, 6-0, 6-1, and Ezra Bernstein, 6-1, 6-0.
Binder, Kane, and Nelson will compete at the New York State Championships which run Thursday, May 31 through Saturday, June 2 at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Binder expects a low seed and would like to advance to at least the quarterfinals or possibly the semifinals.
Sweet Home's Ian Carr beat Medina's Steve Lin 6-4, 7-5 before losing to Nelson, 1-6, 2-6, in the quarterfinals.
In doubles, Williamsville East sent two duos to sectionals but neither advanced to states. Matt Kweller and Jerome Luo beat Maple Grove's Tyler Beaton and Will Nelson, 6-1, 6-4 before falling to Clarence's Ryan Clover and Jarrett Regier, 1-6, 1-6. Joe Buran and Taylor Deer lost to Niagara-Wheatfield's Tom Sheehan and Scott Sobiegray, 2-6, 4-6, in the first round.