WATERVILLE — With each round of the Maine Principals’ Association high school tennis singles tournament, the matches get tougher. Belgrade’s Bethany Hammond likes that.

“Both matches were definitely good competition. It was great to actually get good competition,” Hammond, a sophomore at St. Dominic of Auburn, said. “Throughout the season, it was kind of slow, but it’s definitely kicking up a notch now.”

The No. 2 seed in the girls tournament, Hammond advanced to Monday’s semifinal round with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Falmouth’s Caroline Ray. The No. 10 seed, Ray advanced to the quarterfinals with an upset over No. 7 Liv Clifford of Cape Elizabeth.

The semis and finals are scheduled for Monday at Bates College. Hammond’s semifinal opponent will be No. 3 Rosemary Campanella of Wells. The other girls semifinal features Falmouth teammates, No. 1 Olivia Leavitt and No. 4 Julia Brogan, facing off against each other.

The boys semifinal matches will be No. 4 Teodor Antelj of Fryeburg Academy against No. 1 Nick Mathieu of Mt. Ararat, and No. 3 Luke Stevic of Lee Academy versus No. 2 Isaac Salas of Waynflete.

Hammond beat Ray 6-1 in the first set, but Ray played well, and led the second set 3-2 before Hammond took control.

“There was a couple balls I completely missed because of the wind, but you’ve got to stay focused,” Hammond said. “I think second set is always more difficult. I lost focus for part of it… Second set, you kind of have to put more into it.”

With the end of a long day in sight, Hammond pulled away to take the second set from Ray, 6-4.

“I was like, I’m not really in the mood to play a third set. I’ve just got to fight and stay in it,” Hammond said.

In the morning, Hammond took a Round of 16 win from Natalia Mavor of Cheverus, 6-2, 6-0. The first set was closer than the score would indicate, with Hammond winning a number of closely contested points. In the second set, when Hammond became more aggressive, coming toward the net and using the entire court to make Mavor move, she won in quick fashion.

“I was just trying to be competitive and stay in the match,” Hammon said.

Skowhegan’s Vasilisa Mitskevich, the No. 12 girls seed, lost a Round of 16 match to No. 5 Izzy Evans of Greely, 6-4, 6-1.

“I knew it was going to be hard,” Mitskevich, an exchange student from Russia, said. “I think it was really great. I got to meet so many people, so many new people. I’m satisfied with the way I played. I tried to do my best, and I think I did my best.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM