After a long day of waiting, Rachel Arbitman made up for lost time by making quick work of her opposition.
The Hewlett freshman defeated New Hyde Park’s Steffi Antao, 6-0, 6-2, in the singles final of the Nassau individual tennis tournament at Eisenhower Park Sunday afternoon.
Arbitman also defeated Great Neck North’s Amy Delman, 6-4, 6-2, in the semifinals, which were delayed more than six hours by rain.
“It feels really great and I’m really pumped to go to states in two weeks,” Arbitman said. “I’m really happy I came out here, even with the rain delays, and won.”
She said the start of her semifinal after the delay was a challenge, but added, “I started to play better and better as the match progressed.”
Arbitman carried this apparent momentum into the final, where her serving and forehand helped her stake out a big lead.
“I think I needed to get off to a good start, because it’s the finals and she’s a really good player,” Arbitman said of Antao. “I felt confident after I won each game. In the second set, I tried to keep doing what I was doing, because she started to play much better. I just needed to keep my focus. Even when I was down 2-1, I needed to keep on going and try to go back to my game from the first set. It ended up working.”
While Arbitman is an experienced tournament player, this fall is her first season playing varsity tennis.
“When Rachel came out for the team, her goal was to play in the counties and win the counties and she achieved that,” coach Abby Samlin said. “I’m so proud of her. It’s great that high school tennis has a champion like her.”
Arbitman, Antao and Delman (who defeated Glen Cove’s Trinity Chow, 6-1, 6-3, in the third-place match) will advance to the state tournament in Latham, which begins on October 28.
In doubles, Port Washington’s Thea Rabman and Martine McGowan ended their first competitive tournament playing together in the best way possible.
The duo of middle schoolers defeated Wheatley’s Kaya and Kavina Amin, 6-4, 6-3, to win the county title.
“We had a lot of great competition and we worked really hard to get this,” said Rabman, a seventh-grader who was the Vikings’ first singles player during the regular season.
“It took a lot of practicing together and communicating, and we had a really great team to support us,” added McGowan, an eighth-grader who usually plays at second singles.
McGowan, Rabman, the Amins and third-place match winners Olivia and Ava Scordo of North Shore will move on to the state tournament.