Alexis Garrett treated spectators to a lesson in sportsmanship and compassion Saturday at Darling Tennis Center.
Three hours later, the Durango junior treated those still in attendance to a lesson in championship tennis.
Garrett fought back from one-set deficits in each of her two matches Saturday to claim the state girls singles title, defeating Spring Valley junior Tiffany Tavares in the final when Tavares retired due to leg cramps.
“No one wants to win that way,” Garrett said, looking almost apologetic as she left the court. “It’s a little bittersweet.”
And it may not even be what most remember about her championship day.
In a semifinal match earlier Saturday against defending state champion Rebecca Breland of Canyon Springs, Garrett bent the rules a bit to allow Breland to continue playing when the match was tied at 3-3 in the third set.
Breland fought severe leg cramps in her calves and thighs and sought medical attention in the third set. The medical timeout lasted beyond the allotted time in the rules, and as such Garrett would have been awarded a victory.
Garrett didn’t want to win by a technicality, though.
“It was the right thing to do,” Garrett said. “Rebecca is such a great competitor. She deserved the chance to keep playing. It means something to beat her, and if I was going to do it, I wanted it to be on the court.”
In a state semifinal, when some players might fudge a line call or look for a loophole, Garrett never wanted to look for one. She went on to win, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“I can think of one other person that would do that, and that’s her teammate Claire (Melo),” said Durango coach Pat Davis. “They’re champions inside. No matter what happened in that final, Alexis proved she is a champion.”
Garrett’s semifinal match with Breland lasted nearly three hours, which wasn’t quite as long as it took Tavares to eventually turn away Bishop Gorman’s Anita Lee in the other semifinal, 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-4.
Tavares, who took the opening set from Garrett 6-3, appeared to feel the effects of her semifinal match as the championship progressed.
Her movement limited and painful, Tavares called off the match with Garrett holding a 4-2 lead in the third set.
“You bet Alexis deserved it,” Davis said.
In the boys singles final, Douglas’ James TenBroeck defeated Bishop Gorman’s Kyle DelRosario, 6-4, 7-6 (5).