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Emoto wins rematch to reach semis

Gresham's Jessica Emoto advances with a 6-2, 6-3 quarterfinal win over Centennial's Iffy Aniefuna
by: David Ball, Gresham sophomore Jessica Emoto, the tourney’s No. 4 seed, makes a backhand return during her second-round 6-0, 6-0 win Thursday. She went on to beat league rival Ify Aniefuna of Centennial in straight sets in Friday’s quarterfinals.

PORTLAND - Gresham sophomore Jessica Emoto found her groove midway through the second set, erasing an early deficit to knock off Centennial's Iffy Aniefuna 6-2, 6-3 in Friday morning's 6A state quarterfinals.

Looking to push the match the distance, Aniefuna held serve for the first time early in the second set to maintain a slim advantage. She highlighted play by chasing down three straight balls in opposite corners of the court before whipping a backhand winner down the line.

Aniefuna amped up the pressure by breaking Emoto's serve in the next game, stretching out to catch a return in the side court and quickly regaining control of the point before an Emoto lob sailed long giving Aniefuna a 3-1 edge.

'I lost focus there for a few games and had to get my head back into it,' Emoto said. 'I really wanted to win this one, and I had to stop the mistakes and keep the ball in.'

She did just that, storming back to claim five straight games and the match. Emoto moved in front 4-3, using a series of lob shots to stay in the point before finding a spot in the back corner for a winner that was a half-step too quick for Aniefuna's racquet.

'Hitting those high balls is a defensive maneuver that gives me more time to get into position,' Emoto said. 'And sometimes when she got me on the run, those were the only shots I really had.'

Look for extended coverage in the May 19 edition of The Outlook.