No, this is not a memoir of the remarkable regular-season winning streak by the Miami Heat. But similar to the Heat, the odds-on-favorite has title aspirations.
In the first two rounds of the Beltway Battle at the Tennis Center at College Park, No. 1 seed and JTCC player Hailey Baptiste scorched the opposition as she did not yield a game. Her third match followed suit. Although the No. 3 seed Sapir Sela reversed the trend and won the sixth game of the first frame, Baptiste pulled out a straight sets win. She will face training partner and JTCC player Ayana Akli in the finals today at 11:30 AM.
Baptiste’s steady and patient play flummoxed and frustrated Sela to the tune of 21 unforced errors (10 in the first set and 11 in the second) and eight double faults (5 in the first frame and 3 in the second). Her quickness and boundless energy had observers conjuring up images of David Ferrer. She repeatedly chased down and returned tracers from Sela with equal precision and force. It was Newton’s third law of motion in action.
At 5-0 in the first set, there was a subtle shift in momentum. Sela snapped Baptiste’s 29-game winning streak by holding serve. Down 5-40 in the seventh game, Baptiste saved two break points (she staved off four total) to edge Sela in the first frame.
The turning point occurred in the second set with Baptiste up 3-1. It was ad-out on the third deuce and Sela was on serve. For the fifth time in the match, Sela delivered a deceptive underhand slice serve. Baptiste was prepared for the quirky offering and uncorked a slice down the line to seal the game.
In other JTCC-related matches:
Girls’ 12 Results
-No. 1 seed Hailey Baptiste (JTCC) d. Alexa Orlando (6-0, 6-0) (quarterfinals); d. No. 3 seed Sapir Sela (6-1, 6-1)
-Ayana Akli (JTCC) d. No. 8 seed Sydney Hua (6-4, 6-4) (quarterfinals); d. No. 2 seed Jeanne-Marie Samuto (6-3, 6-1) (semifinals)
Boys’ 12 Results
-Justin Boulais (JTCC) d. Brendan Kittay (JTCC) (6-0, 6-0) (3rd Rd.); d. No. 1 seed Spencer Whittaker (6-2, 6-0) (quarterfinals)
Battle in the Burg
Boys’ 14 Results
-Matthew Fenty (JTCC) d. Joseph Brailovsky (JTCC) (7-5, 6-2) (3rd Rd.); d. Andrew Leung (6-2, 6-1) (quarterfinals).
-No. 7 seed Andrew Fenty (JTCC) d. No. 10 seed Ryan Kros (6-1, 6-1) (3rd Rd.); d. No. 2 seed Jake Fishkin (quarterfinals). On collision course to meet brother Matthew in finals.
Boys’ 16 Results
-No. 1 seed Kyrylo Tsygura (JTCC) d. No. 3 seed Sebastian Mermersky (6-0, 7-5) (semifinals); d. No. 6 seed Dennis Afanasev (7-5, 6-0) to win title.
Boys’ 18 Results
-Evan Zhu (JTCC) d. No. 5 seed Aries Wong (7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3) (semifinals); d. No. 6 seed Kasey Countee (6-3, 6-2) to win title.
Girls’ 14 Results
-No. 5 seed Valerie Ho (JTCC) d. Chloe Boustany (6-1, 6-2) (3rd Rd.); d. Rachel Cross (6-4, 6-1) (quarterfinals)
Girls’ 16 Results
-No. 6 seed Jada Robinson (JTCC) d. Caroline Williams (6-2, 6-2) (3rd Rd.); d. No. 4 seed Cecilia Lynham (6-4, 3-6, 6-3) (quarterfinals)
Girls’ 18 Results
-No. 3 seed Amanda Atanasson (JTCC) d. Kaylah Hodge (6-3, 6-4) (3rd Rd.); d. No. 6 seed Michelle Castro (6-3, 6-3) (quarterfinals)