Girls’ tennis wraps up early season, doesn’t attend annual tourney

September 19, 2019 — by Andrew Lee and Amanda Zhu

No. 2 doubles players senior Sanya Kwatra and junior Aindri Patra bent low, shuffling in anticipation for the match point serve from their Los Altos opponents on Sept. 12. Glancing over to see the scores of their teammates, Kwatra and Patra noticed a rare occurrence: All four singles players had already won their matches while the two other doubles teams struggled.

The Falcons were able to scrape past Los Altos 4-3, with all their victories coming from the top four players. No. 2 singles player Varsha Horantur helped secure this victory in a nail-biting tiebreaker, where she emerged victorious with a score of 12-10. 

“This match was interesting in the way that while all of our doubles teams were defeated, our singles players came in and clutched the win,” Kwatra said. “Usually it’s the opposite: The doubles teams are the ones to guarantee solid wins.”

So far, the girls’ tennis team has defeated Homestead 5-2 on Sept. 5 but lost to their longtime rival Monta Vista 5-2 on Sept. 10. The girls are scheduled to play 14 more league matches to round out the season.

Many returning players are already experienced with playing in higher positions, having been moved up spots in the 2018 season to compensate for four of the team’s top players — No. 1 singles senior Rini Vasan, No. 2 singles junior Monica Stratakos, No. 3 singles junior Annissa Mu and No. 4 singles Horantur — who were out for parts of the season last year due to injuries. 

In addition to Vasan graduating, the previous No. 3 singles player senior Annissa Mu is no longer playing on the team. 

As a result, Stratakos is stepping up to lead as No. 1 singles, with Horantur and junior Alyssa Pinai moving up to play No. 2 and 3 singles respectively. Junior Juhi Patel has taken up the mantle of No. 4 singles to round out the top four.

For doubles, seniors Katie Lam and Vivian Lin have moved up to play No. 1. Sophomores Naisha Agarwal, Peixuan He and Jocelyn Li are currently being rotated to play No. 3.

According to Pinai, the singles lineup this year has been strong, but the doubles teams have struggled to win at times.

“The doubles teams constitute the heart of the team,” Kwatra said. “Normally, singles matches are a coin toss, so we need a solid doubles lineup in order to perform consistently — we need to work on that right now.”

Unlike previous years, the team did not participate in the annual California Tennis Classic invitational. According to Pinai, the team hasn’t been able to compete with its full lineup during the few most recent tournaments due to conflicting student commitments and injuries. As a result, coach Florin Marica did not see the competition as a worthwhile investment for the team this year.

Keeping their fingers crossed to keep as many healthy players on the court as possible, the girls are hoping for more focus and commitment throughout the regular season, Pinai said.

“I think our main focus now is to place higher in CCS,” Kwatra said. “Having our strongest players back on the court is definitely a positive, and we are definitely striving to make sure we perform better without the setbacks of last season.”