Tennis: Aspen outlasts Demons
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – After two hours on the court, Aspen’s Haley Hopkinson walked to the baseline and clenched her stomach.
Entering a tiebreaker with Glenwood Springs’ Sarai Zilm, the sophomore was nearing her aerobic threshold.
Hopkinson gutted out a 10-5 win in a third-set tiebreaker to survive at No. 1 singles. Her close match highlighted a 4-3 victory over Glenwood on Thursday afternoon at the Maroon Creek Club – Aspen’s second straight one-point win to improve to 3-0.
“I’ve never run that much in 21⁄2 hours, especially at this altitude. It’s something I’m going to have to get used to,” said Hopkinson, who recently moved to Aspen from Connecticut. “It was a good match, and I’m glad it was a difficult match.”
Hopkinson won the first set 6-4, then squandered a 4-1 lead in the second. With the score knotted at four, Hopkinson broke a string in her racket, forcing her to switch to her backup – one she has used sparingly.
“It fazed me a little bit because this (second) racket has a different type of string,” Hopkinson said. “I haven’t played with it all season so I was just hoping this would go well.”
The match featured both Hopkinson and Zilm playing primarily behind the baseline, resulting in long rallies. When the match ended, total time on the court eclipsed 2 hours, 15 minutes with Hopkinson prevailing 6-4, 6-7, 10-5.
“That’s such a big win for Haley today,” Aspen head coach Scott Dorais said. “(Zilm) is a year-round player, and Haley has gotten better every day. I’m excited for what’s going to happen the rest of the year. She’s a competitor, and competitors have the ability to find a way to win.”
In other singles action, freshman Caroline DeRosa played for the first time at No. 3. Her 6-1, 6-2 win drew praise from Dorais.
“I’m really excited about Caroline,” the coach said. “At that No. 3 singles position, it’s about hitting the next ball, and she finds a way to get to the ball. When she gets there, she hits the ball with a nice top-spin.”
In No. 2 singles, Hannah Feuer, who played doubles last season, continued to struggle this year, falling 6-2, 6-2. The loss dropped her to 0-3.
“Hannah is close,” Dorais said. “She’s close in every point and every game. We just have to figure out a way to extend some of these points. She will come around.”
Kayla Hansen and Caroline Godfrey continued their strong No. 1 doubles play, winning 6-2, 6-0. In No. 2 doubles, Jacqueline Jones partnered with Flynn Holman for the first time this season, but lost 3-6, 4-6. Holman was finally eligible to play after missing the first few matches because of her participation in the school theater production.
“Flynn and J.J. at No. 2 doubles will be a really fun team to watch,” Dorais said. “They had a really good season last year. They are playing a little bit better and more aggressive this year.”
The No. 3 and No. 4 doubles combinations are still in flux, according to Dorais. Although Sadie Alpern and Emily Puder secured the overall team victory for Aspen, winning 6-1, 6-1 in No. 3, the pair could be broken up by the Skiers’ next matches Saturday.
“I have a lot of girls I’m shuffling in and out of the mix, just trying to figure out the right combination,” Dorais said. “All of these girls have been really good in terms of effort and attitude, which makes it easy for me. I’d like to have these combinations figured out sooner rather than later.”
Aspen hosts a doubleheader Saturday against Cedaredge (10 a.m.) and Hotchkiss (2 p.m.).
“The close matches we’re having now, whether individual or team, it’s just going to help our girls come regionals,” Dorais said. “They’ll be a better team because of it – they’ll be used to this situation.”
Shiffrin’s generational tech-event talent has created a world every other sporting trailblazer must eventually face: a raised level of play. Her dynamic skiing has promulgated a host of viable competitors in her specialty events.
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