by Dave Loveton, Santa Barbara City College Sports Information
Jovic caps perfect season with State singles & doubles titles
Mayra Jovic went where few women have gone before on Sunday as she captured the singles and doubles titles in the CCCAA Women's Tennis State individual tournament on a hot day at Libbey Park in Ojai.
The freshman from Santa Monica College swept past Chieko Yamada of Shasta 6-1, 6-2 in a battle of No. 1 seeds. Jovic is 19-0 in singles this year and hasn't dropped a set. She's also unbeaten in doubles without a single set lost after she and Izabel Nazdracheva topped third-seeded Polina Gorshinina and Van Nguyen of De Anza 6-2, 7-5.
It marked the seventh time that a female player has won the Community College singles and doubles State titles and the first since Michelle Esquivel of Orange Coast in 2005.
"I knew as long as I went for my shots and took control of the point that I would win," said Jovic, who grew up in Argentina. "I knew that she would try and push me back with a lot of spin but as long as I controlled the point, I knew I would be OK."
Jovic broke Yamada's serve in the opening game and went on to break her serve six times in the match, including the final game. On the third match point, Jovic drilled a forehand winner down the line for the victory.
Jovic showed a dominating serve in the first set and did a good job of moving her opponent from side-to-side throughout the match. She's the second Corsair player to win a State singles crown, joining Katerina Mozolyuk from 2011.
"I think it was just as important to win my serve as to break hers," Jovic noted. "It feels great to be the State champ. I've been talking about this since Day 1."
Jovic lost her serve just once and fell behind 2-0 in the second set. She promptly won her serve, then broke Yamada at 40-15 to tie it at 2-2. She captured the next four games to win the title.
"That was an amazing effort against a pretty tough opponent," said Santa Monica coach Richard Goldenson. "She was a tiger out there, ripping her forehand to the forehand court."
Jovic started her day at 8 a.m. with a win in the doubles semifinals. She and Nazdracheva were the top seed from the South and they swept No. 3 Laura Arruda and Leticia Dos Santos of Desert 6-2, 6-1. Meanwhile, Gorshinina-Nguyen needed a tiebreaker to beat Olessa Besprozvannykh-Kyssia Mendoza of Foothill 4-6, 1-6; 10-8 super tiebreaker.
Jovic didn't lose a set in singles or doubles this year. Her singles' game record in the 115th Ojai Tournament and State Tournament was 72-10. In doubles, the Corsair duo won 72 of 88 games on the way to the title.
Ventura's Koyanagi captures Men's State title
Hironori Koyanagi lived up to his nickname of "Hero" on Sunday, using a solid all-around game to beat Carentin Haener of San Diego Mesa for the CCCAA State Men's tennis title at Libbey Park in Ojai.
Koyanagi, the No. 1 seed from the South, was practically playing at home in the 115th Ojai Tournament with Ventura College just 14 miles away. He beat the fifth-seeded Haener 6-2, 6-3 after rallying from a 2-1 deficit in the second set.
"He played tough and he played smart when he needed to," said Ventura's veteran coach Nelson Emery. "He made some big shots when he needed to make them."
Koyanagi, a freshman from Japan, went unbeaten in singles this year (23-0) and didn't lose a set. He's the third State singles champion in Ventura history and the first in 10 years since Jeroen Van Ruller in 2005.
"He's the first guy to ever win State for us without losing a set," noted Emery. "That's pretty tough to go all year long without losing one set. The only one he lost all year was to our No. 2 guy (Corey Karen) in practice."
Koyanagi was up 3-2 in the first set when he slammed a ball at the net to take a 4-2 lead. He hit laser-like groundstrokes that moved his opponent from side-to-side and came to the net when he saw an opening. He broke Haener's serve to win the fifth game, then held his own to complete the 6-2 win.
Trailing 2-1 and losing in the second game of the second set, Koyanagi stormed back for the victory. He won a long rally to break Haener again and hit a winner down the line for a 4-2 advantage.
He broke Haener for the fourth time to cap his 6-3 second-set win, firing a winner up the line and then passing him on match point.
Irvine Valley had three of the four teams in the doubles semifinals. Valentin Baize and Maxime Rumeau, the No. 8 seed and the No. 2 Laser duo, upset top-seeded Koyanagi and Karen in the morning semifinal 6-2, 6-2, then beat their second-seeded teammates Simon Guillin-Guillermo Ucelay 6-4, 6-1 for the title.
It was the first State doubles crown for the Lasers, who also won their first State Team title earlier in the week.
photos by Dave Loveton