Citkovska drops game, but not DODDS-Europe girls tennis title
October 29, 2006
Click here for a photo gallery from the European finals.
WIESBADEN-NORDENSTADT, Germany — Winning isn’t everything. And for some, winning isn’t enough.
“It wasn’t so good,” SHAPE junior Krista Citkovska said after beating Bitburg’s Jennica Botonis 6-1, 6-0 for the 2006 DODDS-Europe high school girls singles tennis championship Saturday.
“I expected it would be much more beautiful.”
Citovska, who claimed her second-straight DODDS crown, was joined by Nick Garcia of Heidelberg as singles champions. His teammates, Sam Pohl and Blair Martin, defended their doubles title, while Ramstein’s Jackie Ventrice and Lindsey Jones won a three-set victory in girls doubles.
It might sound odd, but Citkovska might be justified in her view of her final match. Botonis was the only player to win a game against Citkovska this season.
“I’m very happy,” Botonis said after her loss. “She hadn’t lost a game all season, so I was happy just to get one of those.”
That one game is what ate at Citkovska.
“My goal was also to win the final 6-0, 6-0,” she said. “Then I lost a game, and I was mad at myself. It was just a ridiculous thing, you know?”
The outcome of the match was no surprise, and neither were the boys singles and doubles finals.
Garcia, a sophomore seeded No. 1, clearly outgunned Claudio Giraldi, the SHAPE senior and 2005 European champ. Garcia used his powerful serve to take the first set 6-1.
But Giraldi came out hard in the second set, smashing four winners past Garcia to win the first game.
Garcia, tired from the effort he’d put into the first set, eased up on his serve. “I wanted to see how it worked without the first serve,” said Garcia. “I got a little tired. I didn’t have that strength anymore.”
His strategy worked. He regrouped and pulled away to a 6-2 win in the second set.
But it was sneakers, not the title, that kept Garcia focused.
His mother, Kerstin, had won a tournament in 1993, losing just two games. As long as Garcia didn’t drop more games than she did, his family had promised to buy him two pairs of sneakers.
“That’s why he screamed out after losing his third game,” she said.
The only non-No. 1 seed to win a championship wasn’t really an upset. Pohl and Martin were seeded fourth because they’d played just one doubles match together all season.
However, they knocked off top-seeded Matt Puchta and Shawn Kelley of Ramstein 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals to meet the No. 3 seeds, Kaiserslautern’s Devin Smith and Chris Lucynski, in the finals.
Pohl and Martin went in with winning on the brain.
“I wanted to prove myself again, just because we were seeded so low,” Pohl said.
They did just that in a dominating 6-2, 6-0 win.
Starting before the other matches and ending last, the girls doubles final was filled with emotion and tension.
For Ventrice, it was the last match of her high school tennis career. Jones, her freshman partner, hoped not to follow in the footsteps of her sister, who lost in last year’s final.
But getting past Wiesbaden’s Katie Foxworth and Nancy Jensen wasn’t easy. As the tightly played match went on, teammates on both sides admonished each other over missed shots.
“When we get mad, we play better,” Ventrice said after the match. “So we just kind of intimidate each other.”
Ramstein took the first set, 6-4, and Wiesbaden the second in a 7-2 tiebreaker, sending the match into a third set, and a third hour.
The match was even through the first eight games, but a mistake cost Wiesbaden a service break in the ninth game.
Jensen and Foxworth muscled their way to deuce in the last game, but Jones finally won it by nailing a winner between them.
“I’m kind of numb ...,” Ventrice said. “It was my last match ever, so it was pretty much the most amazing thing in the world.”