For the second consecutive year, Andres Cobos and Leo senior Eli Herran battled in the men's open City Tennis Singles tournament Monday night at Swinney Tennis Center. For the fourth consecutive year, Cobos was victorious, defeating Herran 7-6, 6-4.
With the match starting 30 minutes late because of passing thunderstorms, a sluggish start for the No.1 seed Cobos saw him fall behind 4-1 in the first set. His came alive though and after tying it at 6 games apiece, Cobos' experience paid off in the tiebreak game to win 7-6.
Herran showed promise in the second set, saving a few match points as Cobos increasingly grew fatigued. But the veteran was in a groove and defeated Herran 6-4, taking the match as he launched his racket and hat in the air and fell to his knees in exhaustion.
“It's very rewarding to win it this way,” Cobos said. “This is probably the most rewarding tournament I had because I really had to sweat.
“I don't know if would have been good for a third set,” Cobos said. “I'm glad it didn't end up there.”
Not only did Cobos sweat because of the sweltering August heat, but also because his opponent has improved since the last time the two met in the finals last year.
“He's playing a lot better. I'm obviously not practicing enough, and it's showing on the court because he is practicing,” Cobos said. “I got a little more experience and in important points that counts sometimes. I'd say that's probably what got me here with the win.”
Cobos has defeated Herran in the tournament for three straight years, including 6-0, 6-2 in the finals last year, although Herran strikes a positive note.
“I found out that his game is very tricky, so I had to adjust and make a game plan going in,” Herran said. “I think I've improved over the past year and the score shows it.”
Cobos, a former IPFW player, is teaching Herran.
“You can learn how to beat certain opponents that do a lot of slice like him, and you can just learn how to find a game,” Herran said. “Sometimes you get lost during a match and you don't know what to do, but against him you can learn that you have to problem solve.”
Herran calls Cobos' style “tricky,” between his slice hits, drop shots and mixture of height and speed.
“I keep my opponent on their feet. They don't know what my next ball's going to be,” Cobos said. “Mentally, that becomes exhausting.”
Cobos said he's lucky to play tennis once a week in the summer and rarely in the winter. So more than the victories, he's just excited to be competing again.
“For me this is really cool because this is the only time of the year I get to play with opponents on my level,” Cobos said. “This is when I get to play and let loose a little.
“I look forward to it.”