State girls tennis

High school girls tennis: Dream comes true for Desert Christian duo

2014-05-04T00:00:00Z High school girls tennis: Dream comes true for Desert Christian duoBy Al Bravo Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

GLENDALE — Harika Echuri had a dream before the Division III individual tennis state tournaments.

“It may seem like I am not telling the truth, but I did dream about this,” the normally soft-spoken Echuri said after she and partner Jenna Cray won the doubles championship match Saturday. “I told Jenna the next day I think my dream might come true.

“And it did.”

For the second weekend in a row, the third-seeded Desert Christian duo had to regroup. But after a touch-and-go first set, Echuri and Cray coasted for a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 win, the school’s first state tennis title.

Last week, it was a three-set nail-biter against a team from Page.

On Saturday, Cray and Echuri had to face top-seeded Ashley Madrid and Celine Marin of Miami.

The Vandal pair play an unorthodox style — they both sit back on the baseline and rarely rush the net. But Cray and Echuri had beaten the Miami doubles team in the tournament in the quarterfinals Friday night so they were prepared.

“Having taken the first set, you could see it on their faces, that they were starting to give up,” Cray said. “We have had all these comeback matches; you can’t let that happen, but they are letting it happen. We’re taking that.”

In Division II, No. 3 seed Kelsey Brown and Allison Knox of Ironwood Ridge completed the Tucson sweep in girls doubles Saturday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 1 Caitlin Railson and Sarah Eversman of Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep.

“Winning this match felt so good,” Brown said. “It did turn out to be more of a challenge, but we just pulled through, and we played our style of game.”

Top-seeded Kirtana Bhat missed her sister Saturday but won her third straight state title — this time in singles — with a straight-set win over second-seeded Sabrina Barkdull of Phoenix Arcadia in the final.

“I think I’d rather do doubles,” Bhat said. “That support on the court really helps.”

Bhat, who had won the state doubles championship with sister Rachana the last two years, had to win the last three games of the first set and the first three of the second set to gain control in a 6-4, 6-1 win.

Bhat had to fight off some fatigue or dehydration with the temperature approaching 100 degrees during her match.

Down 4-3 in that first set, Bhat said: “That’s when I started feeling sick. But I just started to move more or try to keep the ball in play.”

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