Brianna Baez, Christian Rosta each win doubles titles at P-T Tennis Classic
By Josh Lichtenfeld Post-Tribune correspondent July 25, 2012 11:24PM
Christian Rost hits a backhand volley while at the net while playing in the boys 14 and under doubles in the Post-Tribune Tennis Classic in Valparaiso Wednesday July 25, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 27, 2012 11:21AM
VALPARAISO — Receiving advice from parents is common for young athletes. But this situation takes on a different meaning for competitors like Brianna Baez and Christian Rosta. While both tennis players do get guidance, it’s coming from people with some expertise on the sport.
Baez (who’s entering her freshman year at Whiting) and Rosta (a Wheeler Middle School student) both have dads with years of experience coaching tennis at region high schools. The assurance helped as the two players won titles in their respective doubles divisions at the Post-Tribune Tennis Classic on Wednesday. Both had first-time partners.
“Sometimes I just go out and watch how he plays and go, ‘ooh, I can do that,’ ” Baez said after she and partner Rachel Willing (a Valparaiso junior) took the 16--and-under girls doubles division in sets of 6-4, 6-3 and 6-1, 6-2 in front of her father, Adam Baez (the former boys and girls tennis coach at Highland).
Though this new tandem wasn’t familiar, it established early confidence and continued to learn each other’s style.
“Staying confident is key,” said Brianna Baez, who came out at the last minute for doubles in her first year of the Classic.
Added Willing, a three-time Classic competitor: “I say that we just caught on each other’s strategies and went from there.”
Rosta’s relationship with teammate Nate Scheerer (from Chesterton) is a little more intense. Earlier, Rosta (the son of Wheeler boys and girls tennis coach Mike Rosta) defeated Scheerer in the 14-and-under boys singles consolation bracket before both were persuaded by tournament director Reggie Sanderson to unite because of an odd number of boys 14-and-under doubles teams.
“It felt pretty good, Christian’s volley was really good in the first two matches,” said Scheerer, who added his strong backhand to the team’s winning sets of 6-3, 6-3 and 6-3, 7-5.
Though double faults and other errors caused their lead to slip into a 5-5 tie in the second set of the championship, Rosta remembered some of his dad’s wisdom.
“That’s what my dad always tells me and the high school boys — if you double fault, it’s two second serves,” he said.
In 14-and-under girls doubles action, Hobart’s Kaleigh Karageorge and Valparaiso’s Isabelle Wachs were also faced with adversity, but rebounded from deficits in both the second set and the tie-breaker to rally in sets of 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 for the hardware.
“If we didn’t win the second set, there was no chance, and I felt like we’re the same skill level so there was no giving up,” Karageorge said.