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Model Laboratory senior Jeff Rutherford hits a forehead during his second-round match at the state tournament against Nick Heaton of Bardstown Thursday in Lexington. Rutherford won the match, 6-0, 6-0.

Model Laboratory senior Jeff Rutherford had little trouble breezing through the first two rounds of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state tennis tournament Thursday at the University of Kentucky.

Rutherford, the No. 4 seed, lost just one total game on the opening day of the event, rolling to easy wins over Eric Morosa of Glasgow (6-1, 6-0) and Nick Heaton of Bardstown (6-0, 6-0).

The Model senior advances to take on Daniel Schafer of Covington Catholic at 10:30 a.m. today.

If Rutherford wins his third-round match-up he would face either Preston Freeman of Paul Blazer or Thomas Backhaus of Muhlenberg North at 2:30 p.m. today in the quarterfinals.

The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Saturday at UK.

“Things are going to get a lot tougher tomorrow,” Rutherford said. “I will have to face two tough players and hopefully I can pull through.”

After picking up an easy first-round win, Rutherford broke Heaton in the first game of the match and raced out to a 5-0 lead. The senior served out the set, using an ace and volley winner to take a one-set advantage.

Rutherford broke again in the opening game of the second set, highlighted by a forehand return winner. The Model senior did double fault twice in the sixth game of the set, but bounced back to finish off the match without losing a game.

“Usually at the state tournament, the competition in the first couple of rounds can be kind of weak,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford has advanced to the third round of the state tournament each of the last three years. Last year, the Model standout lost to Robert Hall of Greenwood, 6-1, 6-2. In 2004, he fell to Elliott Treece of Lone Oak, 6-4, 6-1.

Rutherford has won three straight regional titles, including straight set wins over Will Mustian of Lexington Catholic in the finals of 11th Region finals the last two seasons.

In his standout high school career, the Model senior has lost just one regular-season match and led the Patriots to the 2005 regional title.

Rutherford recently signed to play college tennis at Eastern Illinois.

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