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Academy's Cooper, La Cueva's Kuuttila Win Tennis Crowns

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Cooper Successfully Defends His Crown

It was a day for the top seeds to show their top form in the season’s top tournament so far.

La Cueva’s Anna Kuuttila and Albuquerque Academy’s Thomas Cooper on Saturday morning both won in straight sets as they captured singles titles at the Albuquerque Metro Tennis Championships at the Academy.

Cooper ground out a 6-3, 7-5 win over third-seeded Chris Humphreys of Valley, while Kuuttila whipped second-seeded Chloe Lee of Albuquerque High 6-1, 6-3.

Kuuttila capped off a dominant week in which she dropped just 11 games. She is undefeated this season.

“That’s my goal, to keep my record undefeated,” Kuuttila said.

The senior missed the entire 2010 season as she focused on a rigorous academic schedule. But she looks to be a solid favorite for the upcoming state tournament after rolling through this week’s field.

“Chloe is a really good player, and she has such a tough mentality on the court,” said Kuuttila. “She can change her game plan whenever she wants to.”

Lee tried to mix things up against Kuuttila on Saturday, to little avail.

Kuuttila’s deep, penetrating ground strokes kept Lee pinned behind the baseline in the first set, while Kuuttila attacked on short balls.

Lee picked up her game in the second set, but Kuuttila had an answer for just about everything.

“She was getting a lot of balls back,” Kuuttila said, “and it affected me for a little bit. But I just realized that I needed to be consistent and go for my shots at the right time.”

For Cooper, he successfully defended his 2010 metro title and he appears to be rounding into top form for the upcoming state tournament, which begins in less than two weeks.

Cooper relied on his big serve to stay in control. He broke Humphreys twice — leading 3-2 in the opening set, and then at 5-all in the second set — and that was enough.

“I served really well today,” said Cooper, a senior. “Chris was playing good. I had the edge with the serve, but he was playing better than me in every other department.”

Humphreys, last year’s Class 1A-3A state champ from Sandia Prep who later transferred to Valley, was unable to penetrate the Cooper serve.

“I came up big when I needed it,” Cooper said. “That was really my mindset — get one break, and then focus on my serve, and it worked. Today and (Friday) is the best I served all year.”

Cooper dropped only 10 games in his first four matches going into Saturday’s final.

Next month, he’ll be chasing his fifth state title with the Chargers. He has three doubles championships, and is the reigning 4A singles champion.

DOUBLES: The second-seeded Albuquerque Academy pair of George Cooper and David Zumwalt took the boys doubles crown 6-4, 6-1 over No. 1 seed Ethan Hall and Matt Nazi of La Cueva.

Sandia Prep’s Margaret Stebbins and Abby Younger, the No. 1 seed, won the girls’ doubles final with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over second-seeded Victoria Cruz and Maddie Salazar of Valley.

TEAM STANDINGS: Valley’s girls won their first metro title, outpointing runner-up Sandia 17-12. The Academy boys also took first place, with 17.5 points. Valley was second with 12, and that tied the Vikings’ best showing at this tournament.

— This article appeared on page D9 of the Albuquerque Journal

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