The longer Wednesday's match was extended, the better Sacred Heart Prep junior Sara Choy played. Had she been able to force a third set, Choy may very well be celebrating a third straight Central Coast Section girls tennis title.
Los Gatos sophomore Ashley Yeah started strong, stayed competitive throughout, and was able to deliver in the second set tie-breaker to walk off center court, at Bay Club Courtside in Los Gatos, the CCS champion, ending Choy's two-year reign.
Yeah, a deserving champion, beat Choy, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in a match that lasted two hours, 26 minutes and included long, courageous rallies, phenomenal saving shots and a pair of nationally-ranked junior players.
Choy ranks seventh nationally and third in California. Yeah ranks 25th nationally and seventh in the state.
Saratoga's Stephanie Ren and Monica Stratakos beat Aptos' freshmen duo of Rebecca Sampson and Lila Sampson, 6-3, 6-3, to earn the doubles title.
Yeah (5-5 1/2) played an identical style as Choy (4-11), only a little bit taller and a little bit longer, which ultimately made all the difference. They made each other work hard for every point, producing some dramatic moments.
"I haven't played her for a couple of years but we've always had close matches," Choy said. "I knew coming in what I was up against. She played well and brought her 'A' game."
The loss, her first in high school, ended a 79-match winning streak against high school competition.
"That's pretty mind-blowing," Choy said.
After falling behind 2-0 in the second set, Yeah won five straight sets and was serving, 40-love, for match point.
Choy dug in, broke her serve and went on to tie the set at 5 before Yeah broke Choy to gain the edge again.
Choy returned the favor to knot things up at 6, though not after nine deuces. She went up, 3-1, in the tie-break before Yeah rallied to earn the title.
"I had a slow start and it took me a while before I felt I was in a zone," Choy said. "It wasn't until I was down 2-5 in the second set before I felt more control over my points."
Choy said she was in shock after falling behind, though it turned out to be a benefit.
"I didn't process it very well but that also played me play with a clear mind," she said. "I started taking it a point at a time and avoided thinking about what happened before."
Choy doesn't have much time to dwell over her performance. She's entered in a USTA event over Thanksgiving weekend.