CdM’s Janie Marcus rallies to advance into CIF Individuals girls’ tennis round of 16

Of the four singles and four doubles matches on court Tuesday at Whittier Narrows Tennis Center, Corona del Mar High senior Janie Marcus was part of the last one to finish.

This did not surprise Marcus, nor did her mother, Wendy, raise an eyebrow.

“This is Janie’s way,” Wendy said as she leaned against the fence on an adjacent court, watching her daughter compete in the third set against Bella Nguyen of Long Beach Wilson in the CIF Southern Section Individuals girls’ tennis round of 32 singles match.

Janie Marcus was also part of the last match on court eight days earlier, when she advanced to this round with a three-set win over Vini Bautista of Walnut at the same venue. On Tuesday, she also found a way to move on.

Marcus beat Nguyen 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, and advanced to Wednesday’s round of 16 singles action at Seal Beach Tennis Center. She will join CdM teammates Kristina Evloeva and Roxy MacKenzie, who will compete in doubles. Round of 16 matches start at 11 a.m., with possible quarterfinal matches to follow.

I always play my best tennis when I’m down, because I have nothing to lose and I’m more relaxed.

— Janie Marcus, Corona del Mar High senior

CdM sophomores Reece Kenerson and Hannah Jervis did not advance past the round of 32 in doubles. They fell to Dana Hills seniors Courtney Swift and Drae Fresenius by a 6-3, 6-3 score.

Marcus, the Surf League singles champion, had to rally in the third set against the Moore League singles champion Nguyen. She was down 1-3 in games and love-40 on her serve. Not only did she win that game, but she captured the next four games too and completed the comeback.

“I always play my best tennis when I’m down, because I have nothing to lose and I’m more relaxed,” said Marcus, a Pomona-Pitzer signee. “In that love-40 game, I just tried to hit my shots and relax. I kept fighting and I told myself to never give up, and I think that really paid off. Once I won that game to get to 2-3, I felt the momentum. With the momentum, I was able to play even better. I kept gaining more confidence.

“I really think this match came down to fitness. I knew that even down 1-3, I was still there. My legs still felt OK. If I can rely on my footwork and stuff, I know that I can do well and succeed.”

Marcus, who played at No. 2 singles this season for the Sea Kings, said it was a goal of hers all season to make it to Seal Beach. She did so after winning another marathon match.

“When the going gets tough, she’s very comfortable playing the longer format,” CdM coach Jamie Gresh said. “I think that’s what tennis is all about … she did a good job of stringing together five straight games [at the end]. As much it’s about tactics, it’s just about competing and heart at that point.”

Corona del Mar High's Reece Kenerson returns the ball as doubles partner Hannah Jervis looks on in the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament round of 32 match at Whittier Narrows Tennis Center in South El Monte on Tuesday.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Kenerson and Jervis battled but were unable to top the Dana Hills seniors, who won the South Coast League. Swift is an Air Force commit, while Fresenius is headed to San Jose State to play volleyball.

Kenerson and Jervis battled to 3-3 in the second set but lost the next three games and were eliminated. It ended a promising season for the sophomores, who were the Sea Kings’ best doubles team by the end of the season. They swept three sets in a 10-8 win over Palos Verdes in the CIF Southern Section Open Division quarterfinals on Nov. 2.

“I think we played well,” Kenerson said. “It’s not that we went into it knowing we were going to lose, but I think we went into it knowing they were going to be good. We should have just thought from the beginning that we could win … We had a good season, though. We still have two more years. Maybe if we play together next year we can go farther.”

Twitter: @mjszabo