Maria Carrillo has two in NBL singles tennis tournament semifinals
The green, black and gold colors of Maria Carrillo will be prominent this afternoon when the NBL singles tennis championship is decided at Santa Rosa High.
The Pumas will be represented by two of the four semifinalists including top-seeded Jim Klyce. He will go up against Casa Grande’s Nico Carballal with a ticket to the finals as the prize.
In the other semi, Carrillo’s Dat Tran will face Montgomery’s Justin Richter.
The semis will begin at 1 p.m. with the final to follow.
All four players won opening round and quarterfinal matches last Saturday.
Klyce, a freshman, beat junior Carballal twice during the regular season. The first time 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 and then 6-2, 6-3.
“I learned a lot in that first match and that’s why I had an easier time when we last played (April 12),” Klyce said. “I think I know how to play him now.
“The key is to keep making him run. He gets to a lot of balls, so I want to get him on the run and wait for the right ball to end the point.”
Klyce only lost two matches during the regular league season. Rancho Cotate’s Alec Wong got the best of him both times they met. Wong and his brother Joshua decided to skip the singles and partner up in next weekend’s NBL doubles tournament.
The winner of the league’s singles and doubles championship both receive an automatic invitation to the North Coast Section tournament.
Tran and Richter also have history. During league they played twice with Tran winning both times (7-6, 4-6, 6-1 and 6-4, 6-0).
“I know his game,” sophomore Tran said. “He’s a strong opponent but every player has weaknesses. For me to win, I have to take advantage of those.
“I want to attack his second serve and also hit to his backhand as many times as I can.”
Tran was an all-league selection last year and has lost only two NBL matches in his career.
Richter, who is a freshman, upset No. 2 seed Connery Gschwend of Cardinal Newman in Saturday’s first round (1-6, 7-6, 6-0).
“I was a little surprised I beat him,” Richter said. “I just kept hitting to his backhand and then kept the ball low when he came to the net to volley.”
Richter is improving and playing his best tennis now.
“To beat Tran I have to keep the ball in play and force him to make mistakes,” he said.
The NCS singles and doubles tournaments are set for May 6-7.