Favorites advance to tennis finals
By MARK PATTON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 26, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Two familiar foes and two fresh faces on the DODDS-Europe tennis scene will square off in the boys and girls championship games Saturday at the European Championships in Wiesbaden.
In a tournament featuring more than 150 high school athletes from 27 schools, it was the top seeds that advanced into the two singles and two doubles championship games.
On the boys side, both top seeds cruised through their semifinal matches to set up a rematch of last year’s championship slugfest.
Top-seeded Patch junior Ajdin Tahirovic, two time defending champion, cruised past Lakenheath’s Peter Kovats, 6-0, 6-0 to earn his third championship game berth in as many tries.
SHAPE sophomore Dimitris Stavropoulos earned a spot in the finals against Tahirovic with a 6-1, 6-0 thumping of ISB freshman upstart Fabian Sandrup Selvik.
Selvik provided the day’s first major upset as the No. 6 seed knocked off Heidelberg’s perennial contender, third-seeded Cameron Meeker, in a hard-fought battle, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
The boys finals is a rematch of an emotional championship match last year, won by Tahirovic, 6-4, 6-3.
Stavropoulos, who routinely double faulted during last year’s tournament, hopes his improved serving control will carry him to the gold medal this year.
“Of course I would like revenge from last year,” Stavropoulos said. “I need to win to be happy.”
The fist-pumping Stavropoulos says he’s carrying a calmer demeanor this year, but says he needs to get out early in Saturday’s final to show that he’s not going to roll over for the favorite.
Tahirovic said he’s excited to add another title to his resume and looks forward to playing Stavropoulos again.
“I love to play guys that use power,” Tahirovic said.
The girls finals will feature a pair of new faces to the tournament as last year’s defending champion, Ramstein senior Meghan Augsburger, fell to this year’s top seed, Patch’s home-schooled junior, Eugenia Srodowski, 6-1, 6-4.
Augsburger fought back in the second set to pull within striking distance, but a three-set marathon in the quarterfinals against SHAPE’s Carmen Zarco, started to take a visible toll on Augsburger’s endurance.
Srodowski will face off against AFNORTH freshman phenom Alexandria Bellas, who overcame Wiesbaden’s Jade Sullivan, a scrappy fellow freshman, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.
Bellas, sporting a crafty serve and forehand, makes use of long volleys to allow her opponents to make mistakes. The freshman said she had no problems clearing her head after faltering in the second set.
“Whenever I lose a set, I always come back and think it’s a new day,” said Bellas, who added she won’t hang her head regardless of tomorrow’s result. “Just that I made it this far is great.”
Srodowski said she was going to celebrate her semifinal win in her favorite way: three scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream. It’s also her favorite way to console herself.
The girls doubles finals on Saturday will feature the No. 1 seeded Patch Panther tandem of Marina Fortun and Christine Young, who outlasted Wiesbaden in the semifinals, 6-0, 7-6 (7-4). The Ramstein Royals second-seeded duo of Sydney Townsend and Jennifer DeBose topped the International School of Brussels team to make the championship match.
The Royals boys doubles team will also be playing for the title, as they toppled SHAPE, 6-0, 6-1. In arguably the match of the tournament to this point, the top-seeded Heidelberg duo of Jack Kolodziejski and Wylder Raney overcame a scrappy Patch squad of Dylan Rehwaldt and Alex Srodowski, 7-6 (8-6), 6-7(6-8), 6-3, in a match that lasted about three hours.
“If you realize what you’re fighting for, it doesn’t matter how long you’re playing,” Kolodziejski said.