Wootton’s Miranda Deng overran a well-placed lob from Whitman’s Kamilla Beisenova, whiffing on a return attempt.
But instead of conceding the point, the left-handed Deng flicked a behind-the-back forehand that somehow landed on the other side of the net.
The shot resulted in a forehand error from a stunned Beisenova, giving Deng a 6-5 lead in the third and deciding set of Saturday’s Maryland state tennis girls’ singles final on a sunny afternoon at University of Maryland.
“I actually had no idea what happened. I didn’t realize the ball went over,” said Deng, who served out the match to win the championship, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, in a match that lasted more than three hours.
On the boys’ side, Whitman senior Aries Wong continued his dominance this season with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Wootton senior Titas Bera to win his first state singles title.
The girls’ match featured various momentum shifts, with Deng taking an early lead in the first set to go up 4-1. Deng, a freshman who defeated Beisenova to win the the Montgomery County girls’ No. 1 singles title in October, attacked the net early and didn’t let her opponent get into a rhythm.
But Beisenova would not go away easily. The senior, who beat Deng in the region final in straight sets, rallied in the second set, using her steady groundstrokes to force the more aggressive Deng into errors.
The third set was more of the same, with Beisenova taking an early 2-0 lead and then going up 5-4, before Deng broke serve after her trick shot to set the stage for the victory.
“It feels amazing,” said Deng, who dropped only eight games in three matches prior to the final. “I just started to enjoy myself halfway through the third set. Tennis is supposed to be fun.”
Wong, a Navy commit, won the boys’ doubles state title both his freshman and sophomore years, but took last season off to focus on playing in United States Tennis Association league matches and for 4 Star Tennis Academy at Bullis.
“I missed the team,” said Wong, who led the Vikings to a Montgomery County title earlier this month. “A lot of my friends are on the team, and I really wanted to win counties with them.”
Montgomery County was well represented in the tournament with a player or team in every final except boys’ doubles, which was won by River Hill’s Nicholas Zhu and Prateek Swamykumar, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, over Tuscarora’s Nathan Homon and Luke Shuck.
In mixed doubles, Churchill’s Katie Gauch and Elliot Thaker beat Walter Johnson’s tandem of Eden Sela and Justin New, 6-3, 6-2.
The Bulldogs added another title in girls’ doubles when Sriya Movva and Hayley Keats outlasted Wootton’s Aisha Iyer and Katarina Sherman, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, in a match that lasted nearly three hours.
“We were more ready this time,” said Keats, who won the girls’ doubles title with Movva in 2013. “We hope to be back here again next year.”