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CdM's Kristina Evloeva and Roxy MacKenzie move into CIF Individuals doubles semifinals

Roxy MacKenzie stood at the service line late in the match, pleading with herself after missing a first serve long.

“Roxy!” the Corona del Mar High senior shrieked. “Focus right here.”

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MacKenzie and doubles partner Kristina Evloeva were in the process of losing a 5-3 lead in the second set to Palos Verdes’ Madisen Olsen and Cara Hung. To MacKenzie, this was not where she wanted a four-year varsity career with the CdM girls’ tennis team to end.

The seniors lived to see another day. MacKenzie and Evloeva defeated Olsen and Hung 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in a CIF Southern Section Individuals doubles quarterfinal match Wednesday at Seal Beach Tennis Center.

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“I really had to force myself to focus in that match,” MacKenzie said. “I think it was good, though, even though it might have been a little obsessive. I just felt like if I didn’t get myself pumped up, I was going to tank the match, and I didn’t want to do that to Kristina.”

The No. 2-seeded team from CdM advanced to the semifinals, which will be played Friday due to the rain in the forecast Thursday. MacKenzie and Evloeva play Jordan Hickey and Arianna Stavropoulos of Los Angeles Marlborough in a semifinal match at 11 a.m. Friday. Hickey and Stavropoulos upset No. 3 Faith Pearson and Natalie Duffy of Murrieta Valley in three sets in another quarterfinal match.

Top-seeded Lauren Ko and Michelle Deng of Arcadia, the two-time defending champions, play No. 4 Rachel Wagner and Lisa Wagner of North Hollywood Campbell Hall in the other semifinal match at Seal Beach Tennis Center. The doubles title match will follow Friday afternoon.

MacKenzie and Evloeva, the Surf League champions, rallied from a 4-2 first-set deficit against Olsen and Hung, the Bay League champions. After falling behind 5-6 in the second set, Evloeva held serve to send the set to a tiebreaker. CdM trailed 3-2 in the tiebreaker but won four straight points, then converted its second set point.

“It wasn’t our best tennis today, but we pulled it out, so we’re happy,” Evloeva said. “It feels really good, especially because last year Annika [Bassey] and I only got to the [quarterfinals] … That was really sad.”

Corona del Mar High coach Jamie Gresh talks with his doubles team of Kristina Evloeva, left, and Roxy MacKenzie, right, in the CIF Southern Section Individuals quarterfinal match against Palos Verdes at Seal Beach Tennis Center on Wednesday.
Corona del Mar High coach Jamie Gresh talks with his doubles team of Kristina Evloeva, left, and Roxy MacKenzie, right, in the CIF Southern Section Individuals quarterfinal match against Palos Verdes at Seal Beach Tennis Center on Wednesday. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

CdM coach Jamie Gresh said he wants the girls to play more offensive tennis on Friday. They struggled with their volleys Wednesday, though they made up for it with solid baseline and serving games. Evloeva and MacKenzie started out their day with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Ava DeGuzman and Kate Johnson of Long Beach Poly in a round of 16 match.

Sea Kings senior Janie Marcus wasn’t so fortunate. She lost to No. 4-seeded Vivian Cheng of Santa Monica 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 in a round of 16 singles match.

Marcus was ahead throughout the first set after breaking Cheng’s serve in a deuce game to open it. Marcus served for the first set three times — at 5-2, 5-4 and 6-5 — but her serve was broken each time. Cheng saved two set points in the 6-5 game, then jumped ahead in the tiebreaker and won the first set.

“I think once I was up, I just got a little bit tight,” Marcus said. “I wasn’t hitting my shots. Those two set points, they were two really long points, and I think I just got a little nervous and tentative. But she stayed in it and kept playing her game even when she was down, so yeah, that was tough.”

As for MacKenzie and Evloeva, they said they want to make the doubles final, which will result in a board being put on the fence at the CdM courts to commemorate the accomplishment. Only five CdM girls’ tennis doubles teams have made the final, and the last was Melissa Matsuoka and Hailey Hogan in 2009.

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