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High School Tennis
De Simone Repeats as San Diego CIF Singles Champion
by Marc Lucero, 27 November 2008
The fall means girls high school tennis in Southern California, and the San Diego Section of the California Interscholastic Federation held its singles championships from November 17-21 at the Barnes Tennis Center. After two and a half hours of scrambling all over the court, Gabi De Simone, a Blue Chip sophomore at Cathedral Catholic High School, found herself lying on her back looking up at the sky, thrilled. In a match that could probably best be compared to a Rocky fight, De Simone defended her title and won her second CIF singles championship 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) over Lacey Smyth, a Blue Chip junior at San Marcos High School.
De Simone and Smyth met in the CIF tournament a year ago but in the semifinals; like this match, De Simone needed three sets to get past Smyth en route to her first CIF singles title.
Smyth started out hot, breaking De Simone in the first game and then again in the fifth game to race to a 4-1 lead. Smyth was playing inside the baseline, taking balls early and ripping shots into the corners and even taking floaters out of the air. De Simone was being pushed farther and farther behind the baseline. She struggled to keep up with the overall pace of the match as Smyth kept hitting winner after winner - giving her nothing to work with. After grabbing a temporary foothold by breaking Smyth to bring the score to 4-2, De Simone, who would struggle with her serve throughout the match, probably partly due to Smyth returning second serves from six to eight feet inside the court, gave the break right back with three double faults. Smyth then played a clean, aggressive game and had a routine hold to close out the first set, 6-2, a set not as close as the score would indicate.
"She came out firing and I was on defense the whole time," De Simone said. "She was not missing."
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