Heading into the 42nd D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association tennis championship, Wilson senior Sean Finney liked his chances. The defending champion and top-seeded singles player hadn’t lost a match all season, and perhaps his biggest competition, Cardozo senior Tadael Asfaha, sat out his final season when his school was unable to field enough players to form a team.
Finney took full advantage Friday at Takoma Tennis Center, dispatching School Without Walls junior Henry Englert, 6-2, 6-3, in the boys’ singles final to clinch back-to-back titles.
“I feel great about [defending the title],” said Finney, who plans on playing club tennis at Virginia Tech next year. “I really look forward to this tournament because the competition in D.C. is not super-tough.
“This tournament is always fun since there are better players.”
Englert, whose lone loss during the regular season came against Finney, used a powerful serve to stay close, but Finney’s quick feet and sweeping ground strokes proved too much for anyone to handle in the four-round tournament.
“He’s what everyone calls a rabbit. He runs and gets everything,” Englert said.
“He hits it back in places you can’t get it, which is a really hard style to play against.”
Wilson junior Yashoda Premysler completed the singles sweep for the Tigers, as she defeated School Without Walls sophomore Tiara Holloway, 6-2, 6-2.
Though Holloway’s formidable forehand presented a significant challenge, Premysler’s scariest obstacle might have been her semifinal match — she advanced by beating her sister, Sunita.
Sunita, 16, fell to her 18-year-old sister, 6-4, 6-0, but she reacted gleefully at the conclusion of her sister’s subsequent match.
“I’m so proud of her,” Sunita said. “We’ve been doing this for three years, and this is her year, so I’m glad for her.”
Yashoda, playing in her final season due to the league’s age limit, only participated in one regular season match this year after taking time off to study for AP exams.
She said playing against her sister at this stage felt natural, although she admitted wanting a victory a little more than usual this time.
“It was really fun actually. I enjoy playing against my sister,” Yashoda said. “I really wanted to win though.”
Banneker sophomores Blake Mosley and Courtney Thomas dispatched Son Le and Quinn Gavin from School Without Walls, 7-5, 6-4, to give the Mustangs their first doubles title.