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Tigard's Patel reaches her state-tourney goal

Tennis: The Tigard senior wins her first two matches at the Class 6A event
by: DAN BROOD STATE SUCCESS — Tigard senior Priya Patel hits a shot during her first-round match at the state tourney.

BEAVERTON - Priya Patel was determined - very determined - to meet her state tennis tournament goal.

But, just one set into tourney play, it looked very possible that Patel would be denied her desired accomplishment.

The Tigard High School senior entered the Class 6A state tennis tournament with a goal of at least winning her first two matches. But, in her first-round match, Patel found herself on the short end of a 6-2 first-set score in her contest against Gresham's Catrina Kwong.

However, Patel wasn't about to be denied. She stormed back from the first-set loss to post a 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 victory over Kwong in the match held last Thursday morning at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.

'This was very important to me,' Patel said after the match. 'I really wanted to win this, and it feels real good to win.'

Patel also scored a win in the second round of the tourney, which ran through Saturday at Tualatin Hills, before falling in the quarterfinals.

But being among the final eight wasn't on Patel's mind early in her match against Kwong. The first set of that opening round match was tied at 2-2 before Kwong rolled off a winning string of four games in a row to claim the opening set 6-2.

'I take a long time to warm up,' Patel said. 'I usually start off slow.'

But, in the second set, Patel sure seemed to be warmed up - and then some.

She quickly sprinted to a 6-0 victory to even up the match at one set apiece.

'I didn't want this to be my last whole high school match,' Patel said of her second-set turnaround. 'And I was more consistent.'

Patel carried the momentum she gained into the third set, taking a quick 4-1 lead. Kwong won the next game to make the score 4-2, but Patel won two of the next three games to get the 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 victory.

'I was real happy,' Patel said of her emotions after getting the match-winning point. 'But now I want to win in the second round.'

And she did just that, scoring a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Roseburg freshman Fiona Johnson in a second-round match. In Friday's quarterfinal round, Patel fell 6-2, 6-1 to No. 2 seed Ellie Grossman of South Eugene.

On the boys side, Tigard sophomore Eli Potts, playing at the state tournament for the first time, also found some success.

Potts fell 6-2, 7-5 to David Douglas second 6-2, 7-5 in a first-round match played last Thursday at the Portland Tennis Center, but he bounced back to battle his way to the finals of the consolation bracket.

Potts started consolation play Friday with an 8-3 pro set win over Barlow senior James West in a consolation quarterfinal match.

In the consolation semifinals, Potts notched an 8-4 win over Canby senior Nicolas Buffenoir.

In the consolation title, Potts lost 6-4, 6-3 to Robby Hobbs of Grants Pass.