comscore Punahou’s Corpuz beats Lau for second league title | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Punahou’s Corpuz beats Lau for second league title

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    Punahou’s Katreina Corpuz returned a shot on her way to beating Taylor Lau of St. Francis on Wednesday.

Punahou’s Katreina Corpuz finished the 2016 tennis season with a bitter taste, unable to win the state championship after winning the Interscholastic League of Honolulu girls title match against eventual state titlist Taylor Lau of St. Francis.

On Wednesday, the top-seeded Corpuz rallied past Lau, the two-time state champion, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 at Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park for her second ILH individual crown in a row.

Corpuz will likely have the No. 1 seed at the Carlsmith Ball/HHSAA State Championships next week — again. The state tourney will be played May 4-6 at the Royal Lahaina and Kapalua Tennis Garden.

“It’s about patience. When the point starts I have to wait for the right shots and opportunities,” Corpuz said. “I was paying more attention to moving my feet. In the first set, my footwork wasn’t there. It was about my core positioning.”

It was an epic battle for two sets, a 150-minute match of long rallies between two very familiar foes. Lau seemed unbreakable most of the time, but admitted that it was tough to overcome Corpuz and her cheering section of Punahou teammates.

“She always has that advantage, a big party supporting her,” said Lau, who won state titles as a freshman (2014) and junior (’16). “I’ve learned to block it out and play for myself. Losing is just a moment that happens. Sometimes, you have to lose to become a winner.”

The victory was a composite of sorts for Corpuz, a Punahou junior. Though she didn’t lose to Lau through the regular season, and even beat Lau in straight sets during a January off-season tournament, nothing came easy for Corpuz.

Lau was her usual gritty self on Wednesday. Down 3-1 in the opening set, she battled back with long rallies. As gray clouds parted and the heat increased, Lau pulled away to win the set.

The second set was back and forth, but Lau led 5-4 and seemingly had momentum for a strong push and a two-set sweep.

Instead, she had trouble with her net game, allowing Corpuz to rally and tie it at 5-all.

Corpuz then rallied from love-30 to take a 6-5 lead. Another Lau misplay at the net allowed Corpuz to get an edge to win the second set.

The third set was delayed twice by drizzling rain, but it didn’t help Lau, who seemed to grow fatigued. She double-faulted for the first time in the final game before falling to Corpuz.

The boys’ top seed, Phuc Huynh of ‘Iolani, withstood a major challenge from Kamehameha’s Andrew Yip, the No. 2 seed, before winning 6-2, 3-6, 6-0. Yip suffered from cramps and couldn’t sustain the same level of success in the final set.

“The (title) means a lot because I’m going to get a seed at states,” said Huynh, who won the state crown last year and was a doubles state champ in ’15 with Jordan Azuma. “Today, (Yip) played unbelievably well. I had a hard time in the second set.”

It was a cross-court shot to Yip’s backhand, which caused Yip to trip, that triggered the leg cramps.

“He kind of tripped and got cramps,” Huynh said.

After a medical time out, Yip resumed playing, but wasn’t the same. It was an unexpected finish after a difficult start for Huynh.

“I was a little nervous,” he said. “I was down 2-1, but I calmed myself down.”

The third-seeded duo of Clarise Arce and Betsy Wo (Punahou) defeated top-seeded Laura Okazaki and Chloe Miwa of ‘Iolani 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 for the girls doubles championship.

In boys doubles, ‘Iolani’s Azuma and Joey Hu, the top seed, swept No. 2-seeded Reyn Miyazawa and Sean Esaki of Mid-Pacific 6-3, 6-0.

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