In a war of attrition you have to like Rebecca Dezember’s odds.
The Centennial tennis player said she is used to playing two or two-and-a-half hour matches.
But three hours? It didn’t faze her.
“It’s almost become a tradition with me,” Dezember said. “Before the match I told my parents I was going to win and I just kept that in mind throughout the match. That was my motivation.”
In the end, it was Dezember outlasting Kaley Hicks on court No. 3 to tie the 5A-II state quarterfinals with No. 5-seed Desert Mountain, 3-3.
“That was a very typical match for (Dezember),” said Centennial girls tennis coach Barbara Saunders. “I think 75 percent of her matches this season have been long. She’ll probably win the longest match award this season.”
Hicks had a chance to close out Dezember in the second set. After winning the first set, Hicks pulled ahead 5-4 in the second set, but couldn’t gain the advantage as Dezember held serve on a forehand volley that Hicks could not return.
Hicks held her serve to lead 6-5 and was up 30-40 before Dezember capitalized on a pair of unforced errors. She followed with a forehand winner to tie the match at 6, then won the tiebreaker 7-3.
Down 4-3 after losing her serve, Dezember had to rally once again. She tied the match at 4 with her serve and broke Hicks’ serve to take the lead 5-4. Dezember notched an ace to knot the game at 30, but fell behind again as Hicks hit a forehand winner. Dezember won the next two points to gain the advantage and then the two battled during a long exchange before Hicks forehand volley went wide to end the marathon.
Dezember gave the No. 4-seed Coyotes an added benefit of three days of rest as play was suspended following their match and the doubles match at Court No. 1.
The Wolves pulled ahead with the tandem of Kristi Lee and Mary Frances Byron claiming a 10-7 win at No. 1 doubles. That gave Desert Mountain a 4-3 edge before Saunders and Wolves coach Chrissy Bodmer suspended the remaining two doubles matches. Alexandria Penner and Tina Edgell will face Kaley Hicks and Phoebe Henson while Dezember and Stephanie Ecker will meet Shalini Chaliki and Ashley Potter. Both matches will begin at 4 p.m. April 25 at Centennial High School.
“I think the delay will help,” Saunders said. “With Rebecca’s three hour match and the girls being exhausted from the end of the day and watching such exciting matches, I think it will definitely help us. We will come out, warm up and be ready to rock and roll.”
In other singles action:
Most fans were trained on court No. 1 where Mariely Hassey, ranked No. 3 in the Division II singles state tournament, downed No. 8-ranked Lee in straight sets.
Penner defeated Byron in straight sets on Court No. 2.
The Wolves’ Alisha Bandekar defeated Kathrine Prudhomme; Henson defeated Edgell; and Desert Mountain’s Ali Boden defeated Emily Pecilunas.