Clovis News: Sports

Tennis injuries make 'em, break 'em

Injuries played a major role in determining the Central Section boys individual singles and doubles tennis champions.

For El Diamante's Josh Lorentzen, cramps kept him from competing for the singles title.

For Clovis' Andrew Combs, a hand injury at midseason led to a switch to doubles that culminated with a section championship with partner Steven Gilbert.

Second-seeded Lorentzen retired while trailing 6-7 (0-7), 6-1, 2-1, giving Stockdale's Jeremy Quiroz a second straight singles championship, while Combs and Gilbert downed Stockdale's Blane Davenport and Pierre Tamer 6-4, 6-4 in the doubles final Saturday afternoon at Buchanan.

"I'm glad I was able to win the match, but I wasn't able to win it the way I wanted to," said Quiroz, the top seed in the 49-player tournament who capped a 24-1 season.

"After [Lorentzen] cramped, he couldn't really play the match. I've cramped before and I know how it feels. I was still trying my hardest, but it's tough to concentrate when your opponent is hurt."

Lorentzen said he started cramping up while having lunch following a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory over third-seeded Alex Nichols of Bakersfield Christian in the semifinals.

After winning the first game against Quiroz, Lorentzen trailed most of the first set before forcing a tiebreaker, which he won 7-0 by smashing winners all over the court.

"I raised the level of my game in the tiebreaker," said Lorentzen, who lost 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to Quiroz in last year's section singles final. "But that might have led to the cramps. I was trying too hard."

Lorentzen's left leg cramped up while trying to run down a Quiroz shot during the third deuce in the first game of the second set. After a long break to work out the cramp, Lorentzen returned but was never the same. Unable to get much push from his legs, Lorentzen offered little resistance in losing the second set.

"I was just throwing it away, hoping to loosen up for the third set during the break," Lorentzen said. "But it didn't work out."

Trailing 2-1 in the third set, Lorentzen (21-1) lunged at the net to attempt a smashing winner, but both of his legs locked up when he hit the ground and The Bee's 2008 Player of the Year was forced to retire from a match for the first time.

In doubles, Combs and Gilbert became a team late in the season once Combs realized an injury to his left hand was hurting his backhand, which was limiting his effectiveness as Clovis' No. 1 singles player.

Combs and Gilbert emerged as the top seed in the section's individual doubles playoffs after winning the Tri-River Athletic Conference tournament title. They are 8-2 as a team, including a 5-0 section-tournament run that featured a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 over Sanger's fourth-seeded Jordan Harris and Ethan Anderson in the semifinals.

"I knew I wasn't going to be able to play my best tennis in singles," Combs said. "So I decided to go doubles, and I'm glad I did."

Davenport and Tamer, seeded sixth, forced 4-4 ties in each set but couldn't overcome the Cougars' duo.

"We were just holding our serves and making big returns, making them work for the points," Gilbert said. "It's a big senior-year finish. We wanted it all the way through."

The attention in prep tennis now turns to the team championships, with top-seeded Clovis West hosting No. 2 Stockdale in Division I on Tuesday, No. 1 El Diamante hosting No. 3 Garces in Division II on Wednesday and No.2 Kerman traveling to No. 1 Kingsburg in Division IV on Wednesday. All matches are scheduled for 4 p.m.