Menlo's Yao makes history with a title | November 29, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - November 29, 2013

Menlo's Yao makes history with a title

The storied Menlo School girls' tennis program added another colorful chapter when junior Elizabeth Yao become the school's first Central Coast Section singles champion since the individual tournament began in 1975.

The No. 2 seeded Yao overcame an injury in the second set to defeat top-seeded Catalina Rico of Mitty, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4, in the final Tuesday at Courtside Club in Los Gatos.

Yao beat Carlmont's third-seeded Cori Sidell in the semifinals, 6-3, 7-6, to advance. Rico defeated unseeded Anna Romeka of R.L. Stevenson in three sets to reach the final.

Yao took a injury break in the second set after falling and twisting her ankle. After a medial timeout, during which she received ice treatment and was taped, Yao went back out to the court.

"It looked grim," said Menlo coach Bill Shine. "She limped around and lost the second set badly, 6-1. But, Liz warriored up and told me she was not going down this close to the title. She got down 2-4 (in the third set) and then she gave it her all, and I mean ALL and won four straight games. It was incredible, a first for Menlo."

When the two met in the CCS team quarterfinals, Rico won in straight sets. This time, a quicker attack was the difference for Yao.

"She really had to make the point shorter, so she went for the shots sooner in the rally," Shine said. "She attacked more and served really well, and it all came together in the end. I was really impressed."

Menlo senior Christine Eliazo and freshman Alice Yao, the No. 3 seeded doubles team, made a torrid run through the bracket. They won all their matches in straight sets — including a 6-3, 6-4 semfinal win over No. 2 seed Arianna Chen and Stephanie Nguyen of Leland — before falling to No. 1 seed Mariko Iiunuma and Natalie Spievack of Hillsdale, 6-4, 6-2.

Eliazo and Yao had hoped to become Menlo's first doubles champs since 2001.


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