Sanchez triumphs in all-NMMI final

Posted on 04 May 2012 by Lawrence Foster of the Roswell Daily Record

l.foster@rdrnews.com


NMMI’s Freddy Sanchez, right, and Jose Gonzalez pose for a picture with their medals after Sanchez beat Gonzalez 6-3, 7-5 in the finals of the 2012 NMAA Class 1A/3A State Singles Championships at the Jerry Cline Tennis Center in Albuquerque. (Lawrence Foster Photo)

ALBUQUERQUE — Tennis matches with loved ones can go one of two ways.

The first way is the “Williams Sisters Way,” which is anything but entertaining and is tennis in name only.

The second, and obviously most exciting way, has no name until now — the “NMMI Way.”

In an extremely entertaining and competitive match in the NMAA 1A-3A Boys Singles Championship, the Colts’ Federico Sanchez knocked off his best friend and teammate, Jose Gonzalez, 6-3, 7-5.

 

The road to the finals was anything but easy for the NMMI duo.

In Sanchez’s first match of the day, he beat Robertson’s David Romero, the No. 4 seed, 6-4, 7-6 and, in the semis he knocked off top-seeded Rand Briggs (Bosque) 6-2, 7-5.

Gonzalez also had to play two matches to advance to the championship and, in his first match of the day, he upended Lovington’s Cameron Crawford 6-0, 6-1. In the semifinals, Gonzalez out-lasted Bosque’s Adam Laredo 5-7, 7-6, 6-2, which included a comeback from down 3-0 in the second set.

From the first serve of the finals, it was obvious that this wouldn’t be a Williams-esque showdown.

Gonzalez opened on serve and, after a double-digit rally, he won the point when Sanchez hit a forehand long.

After another long rally on the second point, Sanchez knotted it up at 15 with a well-placed backhand, but Gonzalez won the next three points to take the first game.

Long rallies would be the norm in the championship, but it was evident that both players were close to spent.

“I saw two guys that were completely spent,” NMMI coach Jim Kelly said. “The intensity was sporadic. They both really wanted to win and that was obvious. They were both banging like they were fresh and one of them would get the angle or get the drop.”

The banging was what made the match entertaining. Both Sanchez and Gonzalez can rip it with the best of them and their knowledge of each other’s game allowed them to get to rocket shots, which led to long rallies full of vapor trails.

Gonzalez broke Sanchez’s serve to take a 2-0 lead, but Sanchez answered right back by breaking Gonzalez’s serve to cut the lead to 2-1.

On serve, Sanchez took a 15-0 lead on a backhand that painted the line. Sanchez won the final three points by doing what Kelly said — having long rallies and then taking advantage of an angle.

Tied at two, Sanchez took the first-set lead for good in the next game.

Sanchez won the first point on an error by Gonzalez. Two more Gonzalez errors gave Sanchez a triple-break point, but he only needed one. He broke Gonzalez’s serve with a pin-point lob to the back right corner that gave him a 3-2 lead.

Sanchez closed out the first set by winning three of the next four games.

In the second set, Gonzalez built a 3-1 lead, but Sanchez won the next four games to take a 5-3 lead. Gonzalez followed up with a run of his own, taking the next two games to tie it at five.

Sanchez won the next two games, however, and the championship point was won with a shot at the feet of a charging Gonzalez.

After the match both players met at the net and embraced.

Sanchez said that he was excited to not only win the state title, but to get it by playing Gonzalez.

“It is really exciting and what is most exciting is that I played the final against one of my best friends and teammate, Jose Gonzalez,” he said. “It was a really good match. We were tired, though, but we tried our best. He is a great player and he beats me sometimes.

“This time, it was my luck to beat him.”

Like a typical champion, however, Sanchez wasn’t satisfied with just his individual title.

“(After the last point), I was thinking about the Institute and all the good teams that are coming through this year (in team),” he said. “I was thinking, let’s win state with the team.”

Freddy Sanchez returns a shot during the championships match. (Lawrence Foster Photo)


NMMI’s Jose Gonzalez hits a shot during the championship match, Thursday. (Lawrence Foster Photo)

Posted in Colt Tennis


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