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Leon, Negami take Kanto tennis titles

Max Negami of American School In Japan follows through on a serve against Kent Sikama of St. Mary's International during Wednesday's Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools tennis tournament at Shirako Tennis Club, Shirako, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Negami got the victory, and with it the boys singles title, at 3-2 in the first set when Sikama retired with leg cramps.

DAVE ORNAUER/STARS AND STRIPES

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 27, 2010

SHIRAKO, Japan – Kelsey Leon very likely had had enough of being beaten by Yokota players named Erika. On Wednesday, she did something about it – and captured the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools tennis tournament girls singles title.

Leon, a American School In Japan senior and reigning Asia-Pacific Invitational tournament champion, downed Yokota’s Erika Ettl 6-2, 6-4. Leon handed Ettl her first loss of the season on the omni courts of Shirako Tennis Club 2½ hours east of Tokyo.

“Kelsey’s aggressiveness,” ASIJ coach Jen Brown said of the difference between Wednesday’s match and Ettl’s 6-2, 6-3 win over Leon on Sept. 15. “She stayed on point, stayed aggressive the whole match, and she played her game.”

Wednesday’s victory also erased the memory of losing the Kanto final to Yokota’s Erika Youngdahl 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 last Oct. 22.

Humble in victory, a teary-eyed Leon said of the battle with Ettl: “We both played our best. It was an honor to play her.”

Max Negami won the boys singles and Nicole Cho and Saaya Imura repeated their girls doubles title as ASIJ took first in the girls team standings and second in the boys.

Stefan Byland and Chae-yong Moon outslugged Jesse Hino and Ryo Fuseya in a boys doubles shootout that helped St. Mary’s International net the boys team title.

A teary-eyed singles champion Kelsey Leon is flanked by teammates and repeat doubles champions Saaya Imura and Nicole Cho after Wednesday's Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools tennis tournament at Shirako Tennis Club, Shirako, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Leon beat Yokota's Erika Ettl 6-2, 6-4 for the singles crown; Cho and Imura beat Christian Academy Japan's Hanna Mori and Hana Yamanaka 6-1, 6-3 for the doubles.
DAVE ORNAUER/STARS AND STRIPES