Turlock’s Alex Lima and Pitman’s Nick Gianfortone battled for the Central California Conference singles championship on Thursday in boys’ tennis. Unfortunately, there had to be one loser and one winner, and in the end, Lima was able to grind out a match that saw turmoil strike both competitors during the third set.
Lima won the first set but Gianfortone followed back with a win in the second only to give Lima a chance to win it in three, 6-2, 5-7 and 6-2.
“It was really exciting to win, a good way to end my career here at Turlock High,” said the senior Lima. “I know I was one of the top guys in the CCC but I also knew I had guys like Ryan and Davis on my team and it would be tough but when Nick beat Davis, I really didn’t know what to expect.”
Gianfortone, who pulled off the biggest upset in this year’s CCC singles tournament by defeating Turlock’s number one singles player and the bracket’s No. 1 ranked player in Davis Griffin, came out and didn’t know what to expect.
“When I played Davis… I mean, I never beat him before so I didn’t even celebrate after I beat him,” said Gianfortone. “It was kind of unreal… although we both had problems and cramped up badly during our match.”
The pain during the match seemed to faze Gianfortone a bit less, as he came away with the win over Turlock’s best, only to face their second best, and the league’s second best singles player.
In the final, Lima was prepared, and it showed after he won the first set with a 6-2 decision.
“I think we both played as well as we could,” said Lima. “In the second set, Nick forced me to make errors and stretch my game plan, but I just kept the ball in and stepped up my game.”
Gianfortone ended up winning the second set by a 7-5 decision, setting up the third set between the crosstown competitors. In the third set both began to cramp up and play at an uncomfortable pace before Lima just pulled through and defeated Gianfortone with a 6-2 final in the third set.
“Alex is taller and stronger than me, but he cramped up in the third during serving and I did as well,” said Gianfortone. “So I could see him and when we got into the third set, I knew he was going to play really hard and really surprised me, but I am really happy to make it here, really happy and humble.”
“It is my first time going to Sections for singles,” said Lima who went to Sections in doubles as a sophomore. “Sections is tough so depending on where I get placed, should see some tough competition.”
Lima and Gianfortone will compete at Sections in Roseville at 9 a.m. next week on Thursday and Friday.