Baker's perfectionist streak stays intact through girls final

Glenelg sophomore wins every set of '01 season


May 27, 2001|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Yesterday was a day of celebration for Glenelg's Marianne Baker. It was also a day of triumph for Beatrice Grasu.

For Baker, a sophomore at Glenelg, the day ended with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Grasu that gave her the Maryland state girls tennis singles title. For Grasu, a sophomore at Franklin, the match capped a season of recovery after both her feet were operated on before the season's start.

Baker used her most powerful weapon, her serve, to break Grasu midway through the first set and never looked back.

"I think I played like I wanted to play," Baker said. "I felt like I was winning my service games, and I think that was the difference in the match."

The victory capped a season in which Baker did not lose a single set.

For Grasu, the loss was familiar territory. She advanced to the state championship last season before losing to Eleanor Roosevelt's Lesley Price.

Still, the loss was not as devastating as last season's.

"Last year, I was up five games to none [in the first set] and lost. This year, I wasn't expecting to do as well as I did," Grasu said. "It's no disgrace to come in second, and she was playing really good tennis. I was just happy to be here."

Another player who could say the same was Dulaney's Chase Dawson. Unranked coming into the tournament, the sophomore upset the defending state champion and the No. 4 seed to reach the boys final.

He could not complete his improbable run, however, losing to Winston Churchill's Jason Pinsky, 6-3, 6-0.

Pinsky, a freshman, used a baseline game to move Dawson all over the court and tire him out. Dawson fought back in the second set, but the pace began to take its toll.

"He's an unbelievable player, and he just did what he does better than I did," Dawson said.

The loss ended an improbable run for Dawson, who won the Baltimore County championship before losing in the regional final.

"There were a lot of things I had on my mind early on that kept me from playing my best tennis. I just decided to enjoy tennis a lot more than I had been."

The girls doubles final came down to two familiar rivals.

In an Anne Arundel County battle, Severna Park's Jamie deGraffenreid and Lindsay Suller won a tight match over Broadneck's Kristin Kibler and Holly Schaefer, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4. The win avenged a loss to the same pair in the regional final.

"We know each other so well, that I was really nervous about this match," deGraffenreid said. "I think our loss to them in the regionals [6-1, 6-0] was a wake-up call for us. In a way it was nice, though. We felt like for the first time in two years we weren't the favorite going into a match."

Howard County got its second title of the day when the mixed doubles team of Wilde Lake's Lauren Bondroff and David Lax defeated Cambridge-South Dorchester's Jennifer Messick and Grant Mayhew, 6-1, 6-3. Bondroff and Lax were the No. 1 singles players for the boys and girls team at Wilde Lake.

"I knew we would work well together," Bondroff said. "But I never thought we would make it this far."

In the boys doubles, Pikesville's Jeff Kraft and Steve Cooper lost a two-set match to Bethesda-Chevy Chase's Shaul Yecheskel and Tim Visser, 6-3, 7-5.

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