With the temperature approaching 100 degrees, both the Division II doubles and singles state championship matches didn’t drag out to three sets under the blazing sun.
And the winners of both matches were no strangers to the Glendale’s Paseo Racquet Center, where the state tournament is held every year.
Sara Brown of Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge broke a sweat in the searing heat, but she cruised to the singles title after defeating Christina Oropeza of Nogales 6-0 in both sets.
“Me and Christina are good friends,” Brown said. “Its fun to play against her. We have a great on-court chemistry, and it was just fun to play. The last time we played each other was last year during the season. I won. It turned out the same way again this time.”
Last year, Brown, a senior, placed third in state.
“My strokes felt good, and my serves felt right,” said Brown, who plans to play for Boise State on a scholarship, said. “I think this tournament really showed how I’ve improved my game and how far I could go,” Brown said.
While Brown has placed in the tournament before, the Bhat sisters of Tucson Catalina Foothills had already won the doubles title.
This year, they did it again.
This time, Ironwood Ridge did not stand a chance. Rachana and Kirtana Bhat triumphed over Marissa Baca and Kelsey Brown 6-2, 6-4.
“We just kept winning,” said Rachana, who plans to play for the University of New Mexico next season. “We knew what we were playing for. We were playing for each other, the school and our team and our family.”