Deuce or game over?
That question brought the Sunrise Region boys singles title match between Coronado’s Mitchell Smith and Canyon Springs’ Josh Jones to a grinding halt. The decision ultimately went against Smith, who lost two quick points immediately afterward to drop the opening set.
First, Smith got mad. Then, he swiftly got even.
Smith won 12 consecutive games after having the controversial call go against him Friday, claiming the Sunrise championship 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 at Darling Tennis Center.
With Smith serving down 4-5 in the first set, he won a point and thought he claimed the game to temporarily get out of trouble. Jones disagreed, thinking the game was only at deuce, and the dispute required a rules official to come over to settle it. The official reset the score to 15-30 and Smith lost the next two points.
“Yeah, it did (fire me up),” Smith said of the disputed score.
With that motivation, Smith, the top seed from the Southeast League, significantly tightened all aspects of his game to gain control against Jones, the No. 1 seed from the Northeast.
“I just had to stop missing long and make my serve better,” Smith said.
Both players advanced to state, as did all participants in Friday’s championship matches. The winners of Friday’s third-place matches will play Tuesday for the final state berths.
On the Sunset side, Centennial’s J.C. Pauli defeated The Meadows’ Max Novak 6-4, 7-6(3) to win the singles title.
Foothill’s Kevin Dion and Dylan Hansel won a rematch from last week’s team competition against Coronado’s Marc Feldman and Michael Seitz 6-4, 6-3 to take the Sunrise boys doubles region championship. Dion and Hansel had lost to Feldman and Seitz last week.
The duos matched power tennis in a tight first set. Dion and Hansel scratched their way to a 5-3 lead and had a chance to serve for the set, but were broken by Feldman and Hansel. The Foothill pair did not fold, however, breaking right back to win the opening set and move toward the title.
“We just talked to each other, kept each other pumped up, had good serves,” Dion said.
“And Kevin didn’t miss a volley,” Hansel added.
Palo Verde’s Zach Bellon and Dillon Casey defeated The Meadows’ Jordan Lamothe and Ryan Wells 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 to earn the Sunset boys doubles title in a match that lasted nearly three hours.