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Qian, Manon win Crim Smash for second straight year
Sometimes lightning strikes in the same place twice.
That's what it felt like Saturday as Michelle Manon and Kevin Qian both repeated as champions in the 2013 Crim Smash tennis tournament.
In a rematch that was eerily similar to the 2012 Crim Smash finals, Qian defeated Brett Boyer 7-6 (4), 6-7 (1), 7-5. Midway through the second set, Boyer began to noticeably favor his left leg.
“He started cramping up and I was just like, ‘Oh no, here we go again, déjà vu,'” Qian said. “Hopefully he can finish this so it won't end up like last year.'”
Boyer pulled out of last year's match due to injury and it seemed like it would take something much more than cramps to pull him out of this match. After falling behind 5-3 in the second set, Boyer rallied back to win three straight games and force a tie breaker, which he dominated 7-1.
“He was playing really good, really consistent,” Qian said. “It was a long day. We've been playing since nine o'clock. That's like six hours, that's a lot of tennis. He played great. I'm looking forward to Monday, playing him again.”
Boyer held on as long as he could, but issues with his serve plagued him from the start. Double faults were prevalent early in the match and even when he slowed down his serve, there were still some issues with consistency.
The third set saw Boyer draw deuce 10 times and win another three straight games after being down 5-2, but Qian won his sixth and seventh game convincingly to put away the match.
“He battled, he had guts,” Cibola coach Duncan Phillips said. “Obviously he was cramping big, but it doesn't take anything away from the other kid. He played hard too.”
Qian, who lost twice to Boyer last year, was eager to show his 2012 Crim Smash title was not a fluke.
“A lot of people doubted me saying he was still better,” Qian said. “But I knew in my mind we were both great.”
On the girls side, Manon defeated Katlyn Jones of Gila Ridge 6-1, 6-0 to defend her title.
Jones forced three deuces in the first game of the match which had Manon's nerves running up the wall.
“Since it's the first point you will always take it really serious,” Manon said. “I had to remember I had other points to win besides that one, but it gets you really nervous in the beginning.
“You start thinking am I going to win it? Am I going to lose it? If I win I get ahead, if I lose it's 0-1 and if I lost the next one it's 0-2 … it gets nerve wracking.”
Manon lost a single game to Jones, one of only two she lost in the entire tournament.
“She's learning to be patient and construct her points,” Kofa coach Danillo Montialli said. “Katlyn's a very solid player and it was nice to see Michelle kept her composure. She as able to finish the match in a positive way.”
In Manon's road to the championship game she defeated Cibola's Amrutha Doniparthi in the quarterfinals and Shelby Chambless in the semifinals. Though not overpowering, Manon's ability to not make mistakes and make her opponents beat themselves proved lethal.
Only being a junior, Manon said there's still room in her trophy case.â€¨“Yes,” she said. “I need a third one.”