|High Desert Tennis Association|
Mazaheri takes home title
By GERALD TANG / Staff Writer
VVC wraps up first time hosting tennis regionals
VICTORVILLE — The contrast of Jaleh Mazaheri between points and during them was as sharp as her groundstrokes.
Intensity was a must for the Orange Coast College sophomore, but that didn't mean she was going to be impolite.
Mazaheri defeated nemesis Katherine Chavez of El Camino 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 to win the Southern California Women’s Regional Tennis singles championship on Saturday at Victor Valley College.
In a matchup of perhaps the two most consistent baseliners in the tournament, rallies were long and draining.
Yet in a rare display during a tennis match — especially one with the regional championship at stake — Mazaheri thanked her opponent each time for retrieving balls after points.
Even while trying to catch her breath after rallies, Mazaheri made sure to compliment good shots. Chavez reciprocated the sportsmanship.
"I've always been like that," Mazaheri said. "I'm always respectful to players, and I'd like for them to respect me as well. Just to be courteous, it makes it a better match, whether you win or lose."
The diplomacy between the top two seeds in the 40-player singles draw didn't take the edge off an entertaining slugfest.
Despite her 5-foot-2 frame, the top-ranked Chavez showcased tremendous power from the baseline and a deft touch at the net. But Mazaheri’s looping topspin forehand kept Chavez from being too aggressive, and she was like a backboard during long rallies.
"She’s very, very consistent," said Chavez, who had beaten Mazaheri in two earlier matches this year. "It was tough because I'm not used to it. I'm the type of player who likes to attack, attack, attack. So I'm going through a process where I'm trying to change my game and trying to be calm."
Mazaheri scored a key service break for a 4-2 lead in the first set when a backhand by Chavez sailed long. The OCC standout later took the set on Chavez’s serve again.
Up until that point, Chavez had not dropped a set during the three-day event at VVC. She had a first-round bye, then lost only two games total en route to three victories. In the semifinals, Chavez dominated Riverside’s Anabel Sanchez — the player who eliminated VVC’s Ashley Oliveira — 6-2, 6-2.
So it was no surprise that Chavez responded in the second set, making more aggressive net approaches and whipping her groundstrokes down the line.
But after forcing a decisive third set, Chavez fell out of rhythm and couldn't keep the ball in play consistently.
Serving for the championship at 5-2, Mazaheri outlasted Chavez in another rally for a hard-earned upset victory.