MASON — It was a tough day for Wilmington’s Claire Burns Saturday in the Division I Southwest District Girls Tennis Championship at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
After winning two matches Friday and earning a berth to this week’s state tournament, Burns lost twice Saturday and finished fourth overall in the district tournament.
The WHS junior lost to Elizabeth Pendergast of St. Ursula 2-6, 1-6 in the semifinal round. She then dropped her consolation final to Alexis Covington of Walnut Hills 2-6, 4-6.
Pendergast and Covington were polar opposites in terms of style of play and Burns was unable to gain the upper hand against either player.
Pendergast was powerful with all shots and played smart as well. Covington was more heady than powerful, preferring to dink and dunk her way to a victory.
“Covington is the kind of player that can drive you crazy,” WHS coach Doug Cooper said. “Claire much prefers a hard-hitting, fast-paced mach like the Pendergast match. It’s just really hard to find your rhythm against a player like (Covington).”
Cooper said Burns’ result after the Pendergast match was to be expected.
“The Pendergast mach was exhausting mentally and physically and this was the end of a long and pressure-filled week,” he said.
Burns, 28-5 this season, will open the state tournament 9 a.m. Friday against Tess Bucher, a freshman from North Canton Hoover High School. Both schools wear orange and black.
“The seeds matter but by the time you get to the Sweet 16, there are just simply no easy matches left,” Cooper said. “Claire has obviously proven she deserves to be (at state) and I’m confident she’ll bring her best tennis Friday. She’s been able to hit and warm up with some of the top players in the Southwest District. Claire is the type of player that plays better against better players. She’s great at elevating her game. You can ell she really enjoys it.”
The state tournament is held at the Lindner Family Tennis Center Friday and Saturday, with the tournament beginning 9 a.m. both days.