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HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS CITY SECTION INDIVIDUAL FINALS : Taft’s Fontaine, Greenberg Fight to Win Doubles Title in 3 Sets

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

After walking a tightrope between victory and defeat Thursday, Taft High’s Stephanie Fontaine and Carrie Greenberg hung on to claim the doubles title in the City Section girls’ individual finals.

Fontaine and Greenberg, the top-seeded team, survived four match points, an on-court argument and a battle of nerves during the three-hour match to defeat second-seeded Torri Ellman and Nancy Kwon of Palisades, 4-6, 7-6 (11-9), 7-5, at The Racquet Centre in Studio City.

It was the Palisades duo’s first loss of the season after 17 victories.

“I thought it was over,” said Fontaine, who defended the City doubles title that she won last year with Pam Klosterman. “We both got into a big fight (with each other in the second set). We had to get back together to win.”

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It looked bleak for the Taft tandem late in the second set. The Palisades team, which had won the first set, was one point away from winning the match after taking a 5-3 lead in games. But Fontaine blasted a service winner against Ellman to even the score in the game. Another service winner against Kwon and a long return by Ellman gave the Taft team the game.

“I think it was the fight that turned us around,” Greenberg said of the shouting match. “I told Stephanie to use all of her anger on her serve.”

Fontaine and Greenberg (16-1) fought their way into a second-set tiebreaker, surviving match points at 8-7 and 9-8 as Fontaine beat Ellman again for a service winner and Kwon sent a forehand approach long. A Fontaine smash made it 10-9 in Taft’s favor and Greenberg surprised Ellman with an off-speed serve that Ellman hit into the net to even the match.

In the third set, Fontaine and Greenberg used two service breaks to open a 4-2 lead, but Ellman and Kwon won the next three games. With Fontaine and Greenberg trailing, 5-4, a long overhead by Greenberg gave the Palisades team its fourth match point. But Kwon missed with a backhand volley to bring the game to deuce. Ellman put an overhead into the net and then delivered a long backhand return to make it 5-5.

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A nicely chipped forehand return by Fontaine gave Taft’s team a service break in the next game, before Greenberg served herself into a love-40 hole.

But the Taft team fought its way back to deuce. Fontaine drilled an overhead smash between Ellman’s legs to bring the Taft team to match point and Greenberg finished off the title with her first ace.

In the third-place singles match, Taft’s unseeded Brahna Pastorini stopped second-seeded Karen Manson of Palisades, 6-2, 6-1.


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