Megan Nguyen followed her script and left Catrina Hollaway talking to herself Saturday in the 44th Tri-County Tennis Tournament at Glen Oak Park.
Nguyen repeated as Women’s Open Singles champion with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Hollaway in a rematch of their 2011 title clash (which she won 6-0, 6-3).
It was the third straight year the old high school rivals met in a T-C final — Nguyen also beat Hollaway (6-3, 6-3) for the Girls Open Singles title in 2010.
“She’s like a backboard, likes to use my pace against me,” said the powerful Nguyen, who graduated from Metamora High School in the spring and will play tennis this fall for Lewis University in Romeoville. “I was trying to hit winners in the first set. In the second set I calmed down and just got back to my game plan and played under control.
“It feels great to win this title again.”
Hollaway, the former Washington High School player now a sophomore and No. 1 singles player at Eureka College, chattered to herself non-stop during the match.
“I always do that,” she said, at one point halting for a moment in the middle of playing a point to glance at spectators, deliver a quip, then continue on with the point. “It keeps me from getting too frustrated.”
They wobbled out of the first-set gate, break-break-break, before Nguyen held serve for a 3-1 lead with a crosscourt backhand into the corner.
Hollaway battled back to 3-3, then held serve to reduce another deficit to 5-4. The set — and the match — pivoted in the next game when Hollaway had Nguyen down love-40 and threatening to break her serve.
Nguyen’s first serves were problematic in that game, but she hung on, forced deuce four times and eventually escaped to close out the set.
“I should have had that game,” Hollaway said. “We go to 5-5 and then I’m serving, who knows. I got burned with some shots (that nicked the tape on the net) today — the tape hates me.
“And she was just better.”