Eastlake nips Skyline netters

October 5, 2010

By Christopher Huber

Skyline’s Aman Manji returns a volley in the second set against Eastlake’s Vicente Varas Sept. 29. By Christopher Huber

Between Eastlake High School junior Vicente Varas and his Skyline opponent, sophomore Aman Manji, Varas was certainly a more experienced player on the No. 1 singles court Sept. 29. But in looking at Manji’s play in the second set of the cross-town 4A KingCo Conference match at Skyline, spectators might not have noticed.

“He uses my power and creates his own power,” Varas said after the match.

After losing the first set 6-4 to good friend Varas, Manji went up 5-2 in the second and nearly won it, to force a third set. He relied on Varas committing a few little mistakes, but eventually made too many of his own.

A visibly intense Varas combined Manji’s miscues with a powerful serve and accurate backhand to come back and win the second set 7-5. Varas continued his unbeaten streak this season.

The No. 1 singles match was also the deciding factor for the overall match. Varas’ 6-4, 7-5 win gave Eastlake its fourth point to beat Skyline 4-3.

“I just let up a little and he took advantage of that,” Manji said as the teams packed up to leave. “It felt pretty close. It was a fun match, but unfortunately I was not able to send it to here and keep it going.”

After winning the first game, Varas struggled to maintain control early in the second game. Manji placed shots well and played in stride. The two play enough club ball together to understand each other’s strengths and exploit their weaknesses.

“My forehand let me down today,” Varas said.

Varas and Manji battled back and forth with long rallies, many of which were capped with a ball in the net on an attempted finesse shot. Manji, who was undefeated going into the Eastlake match, tends to up his intensity and focus when he faces Varas, said Skyline coach Bettina Gehle.

“He plays really well against me all the time,” Varas said. “It’s tough, because we’re good friends. We kinda have to put that aside.”

The two played long after the other three singles matches finished. Eastlake swept the singles competition, while Skyline won all three doubles matches.

In No. 2 singles action, Eastlake Kevin Zhao beat Skyline’s Tim Wong 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Adam Nakanishi beat Skyline’s Mitchell Johnson 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 3 singles match. Mitchell Loofburrow, of Eastlake, beat Skyline No. 4 singles Prithvi Ramkumar 6-1, 6-2.

In doubles action, Skyline’s Brayden Hansen and Alex Wu beat Mike Bischak and Andrew Garland 6-3, 5-7, 6-1. Inchul You and Nick Ziats defeated Eastlake’s No. 2 doubles pair Andres Gomez and Felix Humay 6-1, 6-3 and Manuel Carrian and Griffin Johnson beat Eastlake’s No. 3 doubles team David Parkinson and Adam James 6-2, 6-4.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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