Girls tennis struggles against Saratoga

Girls tennis struggles against Saratoga

Sara Yang


Varsity girls tennis falls short 2-5 against rival school



MVHS, the Norcal champions of 2009, met on Oct.5 with Saratoga High School, the CCS champions of 2009, ready for a heated battle.

Despite an outstanding performance by senior Sylvia Li and immense efforts from the team collectively, the Lady Matadors were unable to defeat SHS, losing 2-5.

Number one singles player Li won an outstanding and decisive match against her opponent, senior Srinidhi Raghavan. Meanwhile, the number one doubles team of sophomore Ruri Kobayakawa and freshman Kelsey Chong struggled to emerge with a victory.

Number one singles—Senior Sylvia Li vs. senior Srinidhi Raghavan of Saratoga High School (2-0)

Although Li had a slow start to her match, she found her rhythm and groove in the middle of her first set and took the match by the storm from there on out, eventually winning 6-4, 6-1.

Li took the first game with ease due to Raghavan’s unforced errors, putting herself up with an early lead of 1-0. However, Li overhit shots and serves throughout the next few games, allowing Raghavan to take a 4-1 lead.

“I’ve played her multiple times in practice matches before, so I was disappointed in the beginning of the game,” Li said. “I was making a lot of mistakes. My serving was really bad and my hits weren’t penetrating.”

A mid-set pep talk from coach Gene Fortino helped Li isolate problem areas for immediate improvement during the match.

“After Gene came and talked to me and told me I was taking my shots too soon, I became more patient, and I waited for opportunities,” Li said.

Taking her coach’s advice, Li controlled the power in her shots and serves just enough for her to find her groove and force Raghavan to numerous break points. Consistent shots to the deep corners and a powerful ace tied the set up in the first set 4-4. With powerful slams up at the net and deep corner shots, she carried her momentum into the next few games and ended the first set 6-4 with a winner in the deep right corner.

“I placed the ball really well in the second set, and my backhand was much better than before,” Li said.

She took complete control of the second set and won decisively 6-1.

“Sylvia played great. She had a slow start, but she continued to stay focused and kept the rally going. It was really all Sylvia, not me,” Fortino said.

Number one doubles—Freshman Kelsey Chong and sophomore Ruri Kobayakawa vs. juniors Sarah Lum and Lisa Asai of Saratoga High School (0-2)

On the opposite side of the court, doubles pair Kobayakawa and Chong contended with number one SHS doubles juniors Sarah Lum and Lisa Asai.

Kobayakawa and Chong were off to a slow start in their first set, but unlike Li, they were unable to make a comeback for a victory. Struggling with short court plays and a case of the jitters, Chong and Kobayakawa allowed the Saratoga Falcons to take five straight games.

The pair pumped up their intensity and momentum to win the next two games but were unable to continue this drive, as Lum and Asai won the first set of the match 6-2.

Despite minimal practice-time as a doubles pair, Chong and Kobayakawa loosened up after the unfortunate defeat in the first set.

“In the second set we just started having a bit more fun,” Kobayakawa said. “For some reason if I play so seriously, I tend to be like more temperate and I just can’t play through.”

The Matadors put themselves in an early lead by winning their first game of the second set. The team fed off of each other’s energy and wisely placed their serves and shots in the court. This led to a 3-0 lead over their opponents, but Lum and Asai soon managed to steal the next two games and shorten the lead.

After both teams held serves for the next games, SHS managed to pull forward 5-4. Despite tough efforts from the Lady Matador team, they were unable to stop Lum and Asai, as they lost the second set with a close 4-6.

The next varsity girls tennis game will be against Palo Alto High School on Oct. 7.

Correction: Chong and Kobayakawa's standings against Saratoga HS were incorrectly stated.