LATHAM, N.Y. — Back and forth it went with neither team giving in.
The state girls tennis doubles championship was going to be decided by a razor-thin margin.
After four match points consisting of lengthy rallies, Hewlett’s Rachel Arbitman finally hit a winner, giving her and partner Nyla Gershfeld a 7-5, 6-4 win over Kaya and Kavina Amin of Wheatley Monday afternoon at the Tri-City Fitness Center.
“That whole second set was a bit nerve-wracking because we were up 5-2,” Arbitman said. “They’re really good players but in that last game with my serve it was really great to be able to end it.”
The two teams also played two weeks earlier in the Nassau final, with Arbitman and Gershfeld coming out on top, 6-1, 6-2.
“I think they played really well today and kept it more consistent and made more shots,” Gershfeld said.
“The conditions were also different,” Arbitman said. “They hit very fast and outdoors it’s a little slower and indoors here it was pretty quick.”
Arbitman won the 2018 state singles title and decided after that she wanted to take a shot at the doubles title this season.
She’s the first in the state to win either a singles or doubles title one year and the other the next since Hauppauge’s Jennifer Kellner in 2007 and 2008.
“I didn’t think them winning would be a walkover because there are a lot of other good teams out there,” Hewlett coach Abby Samlin said. “I was a little skeptical when she wanted to give up her singles spot but Rachel is a true team player. And Nyla really stepped it up playing under a lot of pressure as an eighth-grader.”
Port Washington’s Thea Rabman, a freshman, also said she felt a little bit of pressure during Monday’s singles final against Julia Andreach of Our Lady of Mercy (Buffalo) in Section V.
She didn’t show it though, pushing the 2017 state champ before losing, 7-6 (4), 6-1.
“I was just trying to stay positive and play smart,” Rabman said. “It was tough because she’s a really smart player.”
Rabman won the first service game but quickly fell behind 3-1. She got a break to get back to 3-3 and went ahead 4-3 before the pair alternated games forcing the tiebreak.
“I think that there was a little extra pressure from just being there in the finals and the fact I didn’t know at first that she was a senior,” she said.
Rabman was joined on the medal stand by fellow Long Island players Merri Kelly Hannity of Cold Spring Harbor (third), Westhampton’s Rose Hayes (fifth) and Amy Delman of Great Neck North (sixth).
Port Washington’s Ellie Ross and Andrea Martinez De Los Rios finished seventh in doubles.
“There’s a lot of competition all season since we have such a strong section,” Arbitman said. “I think it’s really amazing and it really gets us ready to come and compete in the state tournament.”