Clovis North High tennis star Daly Meinert continues to look more and more like a pro.
Physically, for sure, at 6 feet, 3 inches, taller and stronger compared to his freshman season of a year ago and still delivering devastating serves and powerful forehands.
The mental part of his game is developing, too, with Meinert more tactical and focused on controlling every game of every set of every match.
Against that combination of brawn and brains, the rest of the Central Section stood no chance. Again.
Meinert, now a sophomore, made it 2 for 2 at the section championships, completing an undefeated season by defeating Bullard senior Viran Batth 6-1, 6-3 on Saturday afternoon in the final at Clovis West.
In doubles, Clovis West’s Addison Weil and Sean Lindenau unseated defending champions Nick Jaramishian and Lincoln Hoppe of Bullard 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Meinert, the top seed in this year’s singles bracket, repeated despite talk that he would give up high school competition after his freshman season to focus on more advanced U.S. Tennis Association competition.
“It means a lot to me and means a lot to my school,” Meinert said. “It’s because of them supporting me every match that I fight every day.
“It’s been pretty amazing.”
Meinert, the son of a pair of former UCLA athletes, added he still has no plans to give up high school tennis.
Which could mean two more seasons of what was on display Saturday.
Meinert frustrated his opponent from the beginning, attacking Batth’s backhand and striking shots to the back corners to prevent Batth from approaching the net.
“The first set is probably the most important set,” Meinert said. “You got to be strong and assert your dominance.”
And when Meinert connects on his zipping serves, the most opponents often can do is to simply position their racket in the area where the ball is headed to make at least a soft return over the net.
That only further feeds into Meinert’s game, with the Broncos star ready to unleash punishing strikes from close to the net. He also can mix in a drop shot, almost as if to toy with his opponents.
Meinert’s biggest adversary Saturday seemed to be his own racket. He typically would give it a death stare, and sometimes a yell, after an unforced error.
But those down moments rarely lasted long.
“He’s got a great ability to get out of those holes,” Clovis North coach Brad Fernandez said. “He’s very strong mentally.”
Doubles winners rally
Weil and Lindenau, the No. 2 seeds, staged a comeback after shaking off a slow start.
After losing the first set, the Clovis West pair changed their game plan, turning up the aggressiveness and taking advantage of Bullard’s over-aggression.
It worked as planned. At times, Clovis West returned sky balls that seemed to set up Bullard’s duo for smashing returns. Instead, the Knights would commit an error by hitting the ball into the net or out.
Lindenau and Weil avenged a 2014 semifinal loss to Jaramishian and Hoppe. And it continued Clovis West’s winning ways against Bullard. Earlier in the week, the Golden Eagles beat the Knights 5-2 for the section Division I team championship.
“It feels great,” Lindenau said. “It couldn’t feel any better.”