The Region II girls tennis championship was delayed again.
A day after being postponed because of strong winds and cold temperatures, the tournament continued Thursday, but the unexpected singles final between Richard Montgomery High School’s Thea Postolache and Springbrook's Maria Hawkins was halted in the third set at Walter Johnson due to a lack of light.
Postolache won the first set, 6-3, and was leading 5-3 in the third set when the two players agreed to suspend the match. Hawkins forced the third set by cruising to a 6-2 victory in the second set. It will be completed on Friday at 3 p.m.
“I would have loved to keep playing, but it's hard to see,” Postolache said. “I think it's the correct decision.”
Hawkins and Postolache upset the top two seeded players during the semifinal round to reach Thursday's final. Hawkins defeated No. 1 Anna Rozenberg of Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 6-4, 6-3. Postolache upended No. 2 and county champion Lydia Xiao of Northwest, 6-4, 6-3.
Regardless of who wins Friday, both players will compete in the May state championship tournament.
“It's great to be able to regroup and process what's happening,” Hawkins said. “I'll be able to come back tomorrow fresh and I'll be able to see the ball.”
There was one Region II crown handed out Thursday as the Winston Churchill duo of Haley Keats and Syria Movva produced a 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) sweep of Walt Whitman's Anna Volkov and Whitney Cinkala to win the doubles title. Like the singles players, both teams have qualified for state play.
“We were really happy [with the first set win], but I guess we got overconfident in the second set,” Keats said. “We're so excited and we're looking forward to going onto states.”
After double faulting to start the match, Postolache settled down to take a 4-2 advantage in the first set. Hawkins closed to within a game on a controversial in-out call, but Postolache won the next two games.
Hawkins stormed back in the second, winning five of the first six games. She produced numerous winners or forced Postolache into some tough shots to capture the second set.
“She had momentum and she was hitting everything and everything was going in,” Postolache said of Hawkins in the second set. “She was playing really well. I told myself she can't play that well the entire match and I just needed to get my rhythm back. I told myself I had it and I can do it.”
Postolache regrouped and then some in the third set, opening up a 5-1 advantage, but Hawkins stayed alive with consecutive victories before the match was halted.