Jeff Vongman couldn’t “get a rhythm going” during his tennis match Friday.
Apparently, rhythm is overrated.
The Canyon Springs junior hustled his way to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Coronado’s Mitchell Smith for the Sunrise Region boys singles title at Darling Tennis Center. Both players advanced to next week’s state tournament in Reno.
“I felt like it was unstable the whole time, even when I won the match,” said Vongman, who even swapped out his racket in the sixth game of the first set. “I knew it was one of those days where some things weren’t going for you. I just knew I had to try to get the ball in.”
Racket and rhythm aside, Vongman used a strong forehand and ran down every ball to pull away and win the final four points of the first set. The 17-year-old, who is home-schooled but lives in Canyon Springs’ zone, used his superior fitness to power through every point.
“I was really tense at the beginning, and I was playing a couple feet behind the baseline,” Vongman said. “Then I just told myself to try to get inside the court, because I was getting really fatigued. I knew if I kept going back (to the baseline), I might win the match, but it would be really tough for me.
“I’d rather win or lose the match going forward.”
Even after the match, Vongman was working on his serve in preparation for the state tournament.
“It’s how he is; you have to do off-training in practice,” said Canyon Springs coach Cheryl Dameron, who coaches Vongman and two seniors on the boys team. “It’s not just the tennis and working on skills, you’ve got cardio and strength training.
“Some kids just want to play tennis, and that’s all they want to do. But they don’t understand, if you are going to go for a drop shot at an angle, you’ve got to be able to sprint.”
Vongman, the No. 1 seed from the Northeast League, lost only seven games in four wins en route to Friday’s final.
Rancho’s Rohan Gupte took third place in boys singles when Las Vegas’ Andre Walls pulled out because of injury.
Foothill’s Dylan Hansel and John Qualls defeated Coronado’s Xavier Smith and Kai Carl, 6-0, 6-4, for the boys doubles championship, and the Cougars’ Kevin Hashman and Bryden Baxter placed third.
Gabby Smith of Coronado outlasted Canyon Springs’ Rebecca Breland in a marathon match, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1, to claim the girls singles championship. Chrissy Uriarte of Coronado took third.
In the girls double final, Danae Ingwaldson and Aphrah Brokaw of Liberty beat teammates Ashley Wao-Udin and Sina Gebrai, 6-0, 6-0. Lea Cohen and Paige Nisson of Coronado placed third.
All finalists advanced to the state tournament. The third-place finishers will face the Sunset Region third-place winners Monday in state play-in matches at Darling Tennis Center.