Cerritos College freshman tennis player Kseniia Prokopchuk, who played as the team's #3 singles player all season, is just one win away from the CCCAA State Championship. The #6-seed recorded a pair of upsets on Saturday in Ojai, which included a three-set win over sophomore teammate Petra Such. Prokopchuk wil take on Sandra Dafinescu of De Anza College in the state championship match on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. at Libbey Park in Ojai.
The Falcons, who won the team state championship this past Wednesday, represented two of the four semifinalists. And as a special note, Prokopchuk's brother, Alex, will also be playing for the CCCAA Men's Singles Championship, marking the first time a brother-sister combo has reached the championship match. Both have played this season as the Falcons #3 singles players.
In her quarterfinal match against #1-seeded Eva Spindler or American River College, Prokopchuk was on her way to a shutout win (6-0, 5-0), until an injury forced the match to be ended. Taking on sophomore teammate Lisa Suzuki, who defeated her in the South Coast Conference singles championship match, Prokopchuk fought back after losing the first set, 3-6. She won the second set, 6-3 and followed that with another 6-3 win to earn a spot in the championships. Their match lasted more than three hours and Prokopchuk overcame deficits of 3-2 in the second set and 2-0 in the third.
Prokopchuk took a 3-0 lead in the first set and then Suzuki won the next six games. Prokopchuk and Suzuki played a lot of long points with rallies in the 20-25 stroke range.
"It was difficult to play my doubles partner because we are close friends and she's pretty good," said Prokopchuk to the CCCAA, who's 28-2 in singles and 30-0 in doubles. "I tried to concentrate, stay focused and fight for each point."
Prokopchuk said this won't be the first time that she and her brother have played in the finals of the same tournament.
"Lisa and Kseniia played each other in the conference final and it was about the same thing with Lisa winning that match in three sets," said head coach Quinn Caldaron. "Anytime they play, it's always a battle."
Suzuki was fighting a leg injury that kept cramping up.
"She got hurt earlier in the season and then got healthy," said Caldaron. "These are long days and this is a tough tournament. Sometimes, it comes down to a battle of attrition. After battling each other, now they have to go try and pump it up together in doubles."
The Falcons other quarterfinalist, #5-seeded Such, was eliminated by #1-seeded Halla Alajeely of Irvine Valley College, 2-6, 0-6. Dafinescu then defeated Alajeely in the other semifinal match.
Cerritos will also be represented in the doubles semifinals, as #1-seeded Prokopchuk and Suzuki earned a 6-1, 6-2 win over #4-seeded Stephanie Huang and Sophia Moeckelmann of Chabot College in the quarterfinals. They will take on Orange Coast College's #3-seeded Miri Inoue and Cameryn Mason, who they defeated, 8-0 in a team dual match back in February. Such and freshman Moa Lindstrom had a chance to advance to the semifinals, but they saw that evaporate after winning the first set against #1-seeded Dafinesco and Maria Zimmerman, 6-1, 6-7(4), 4-10.
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