Bloomfield Hills’ four-year doubles duo gets it done at tennis state finals

‘It was the best feeling ever’

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 20, 2024

 Bloomfield Hills seniors Natalie Petrucci, left, and Nisha Singhi were crowned the state champions in doubles flight No. 3 June 1 at Greater Midland Tennis Center in Midland.

Bloomfield Hills seniors Natalie Petrucci, left, and Nisha Singhi were crowned the state champions in doubles flight No. 3 June 1 at Greater Midland Tennis Center in Midland.

Photo provided by Bloomfield Hills Athletics


BLOOMFIELD HILLS — They’ve been partners in crime their whole high school tennis career, and they ended it in the most storybook way possible.

For the past four seasons, Bloomfield Hills seniors Natalie Petrucci and Nisha Singhi have been doubles teammates for the varsity tennis program, but their partnership is more than just what’s shown on the court.

“She’s one of my closest friends,” Singhi said. “When you play together for four years, you just know each other’s game. I know exactly what her strengths are and what her weaknesses are, and she knows my strengths and weaknesses, and we’re really able to hype each other up, because we know each other so well. We both know we want it so bad. It’s important to have a partner that is going to stay positive even when you’re down. When I’m down on myself, she gets me back into it, and vice versa.”

At the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 state finals last year, Petrucci and Singhi, unranked in doubles flight No. 2, were sent home packing in the second round by fifth seed Rochester Hills Stoney Creek.

It was their first state finals appearance after spending the two previous years on the varsity-B team, so with their first finals loss came reflection on what went wrong and what to correct.

“Last year, we didn’t even make it to the second day,” Petrucci said. “I feel like this year, we kind of had a different mindset of just going in and playing every game. Last year, I think I was more focused on the outcome, which didn’t help me, because when it came to that game against (Rochester Hills) Stoney Creek, we lost. I think I was just too focused on what was ahead of me and not what was right in front of me.”

Returning as seasoned veterans and primed for every obstacle in their way, Petrucci and Singhi, the six seed in doubles flight No. 3, focused on making this year’s MHSAA Division 1 state finals the final stamp on their time together.

On June 1 at Greater Midland Tennis Center in Midland, the doubles flight No. 3 state championship belonged to Bloomfield Hills as Petrucci and Singhi defeated Troy’s duo of junior Anna Wang and freshman Jhoshi Prasath.

“They wanted it so badly,” Bloomfield Hills coach Adrian Goddard said. “In sports, there’s so much to be said with your physical skills and your talent. I’ve known players over the years that were hugely talented, but didn’t have the desire. These two have the desire in bucket loads.”

The journey to the state finals match wasn’t for the faint of heart, but it showcased the mental toughness of Petrucci and Singhi that both players said was a vital piece missing last year.

Bloomfield Hills expected to have to square off against third seed Ann Arbor Pioneer in order to make it out of the first day, and both teams were all too familiar with each other.

“It was a battle every single match,” Singhi said. “It was like a fight. We had a bye, so we had a lot of anxiety for our first match, because we were waiting for so long. First match was against Romeo, and we dropped a set to them too in our first set, so we were a little nervous, and they were playing well. We knew Pioneer was going to be tough. We played them once during the season and won in a tiebreaker for the third set, like a 10-point super tiebreaker. We knew it was going to be tough, and they came out so well in the first set, but we were just so determined not to go home on Friday. Something just changed in our minds.”

Making it past Pioneer to secure play on day two, Bloomfield Hills cruised past Northville to set the state finals stage against four seed Troy.

Like Pioneer, Bloomfield Hills had faced Troy earlier in the season, but lost after controlling the beginning of the match.

Petrucci said she knew they had what it took to beat Troy, but it was a matter of staying in the game from a mental standpoint.

“We watched Troy and Novi play, and when I was watching them I was like, ‘Oh gosh, they look really good,’” Petrucci said. “We had played Troy before, and we were up 5-2 before we gave in and they came back and won, so we also kind of knew that we could do it because of that lead. It was just about being able to close out the match. With us, mentally, we used to just give in when we were down, but we didn’t do that. We just believed in ourselves.”

The duo was also crowned regional champions this year as well as Bloomfield Hills dominated regionals, winning every flight for what school officials believe is the first time in school history.

Bloomfield Hills is a perennial regional winner, but dominance of this magnitude in a regional meet is not common.

Other regional champions for Bloomfield Hills were senior Julia Yousif (singles 1), freshman Sophia Tomina (singles 2), senior Natalie Chen (singles 3), senior Lucy Dickson (singles 4), sophomore Evelyn Kalaydijan and senior Emma Kalaydijan (doubles 1), seniors Nyla Holiman and Reese Lancaster (doubles 2), and seniors Mia Brand and Anna Speaks (doubles 4).

While Bloomfield Hills will graduate a slew of seniors, Petrucci and Singhi will go out on top without ever having to defend their crown.

Petrucci, a team captain for the tennis and volleyball team, said she couldn’t imagine a better feeling than becoming a state champion alongside her team.

“It was amazing,” Petrucci said. “I kept telling people it was the best feeling ever. It was great having the whole team alongside.”