Two years ago, Ashley Wao-Udin and Sina Gebrai fell short in their quest for a Sunrise Region girls doubles title.
As seniors, the Liberty tandem had one more chance to win together this season. And that looked like it might slip away on Monday.
Up a set and 5-4 in the second against Coronado’s Marina Arriola and Olivia Arriola, the Patriot duo couldn’t hold the lead and dropped the second set.
Wao-Udin and Gebrai rattled off the first three games of the third set on their way to a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win in the Sunrise final at Darling Tennis Center.
“We got more focused,” Wao-Udin said. “We just told each other to have fun and relax. We played smarter.”
Spending an unusual amount of time playing from behind the baseline, Wao-Udin and Gebrai made some costly mistakes at the end of the second set and had to quickly regroup.
Crisper groundstrokes led to fewer errors and more points.
“No one really expects it because it’s different,” Gebrai said of the team’s style of play. Most doubles teams try to get to the net quickly. “It can be harder to play against.”
Wao-Udin won the Sunrise title last season when she teamed with Aphrah Brokaw, but is back with Gebrai this season after Brokaw graduated.
“It’s a different experience, but as seniors, it means a lot to us,” Wao-Udin said.
Both teams advance to the state tournament, starting Friday in Reno.
Coronado’s Marlee Allison and Lauren Coons took third and will meet Bishop Gorman’s Julia MacDonald and Amber Del Rosario at 8 a.m. today for the final state bid.
While Wao-Udin and Gebrai had to work a little extra to secure their title, Coronado’s Samantha Smith got on and off the court in a heartbeat, powering her way to a 6-0, 6-1 victory over teammate Paris Reese in the girls singles final.
“I just did a good job of hitting down the lines,” said Smith, who will try to accomplish what her older sister Gabby did as a freshman two years ago.
Gabby Smith was the 2010 state champion in singles as a freshman. She’s currently training in Virginia.
“I hear about it a lot,” Samantha Smith said. “Everybody always reminds me that Gabby won and they ask me if I will do it, too. There’s just a little bit of pressure there.”
Smith and Reese both advance to the state tournament, where they’ll also play for Coronado in the team competition.
Green Valley’s Josie Legarza took third and will meet Palo Verde’s Tiffany Newell in a state play-in match at 8 a.m. today.