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Prep’s Pedergnana falls in tennis finals, 6-3, 6-1

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Alessandra Pedergnana knew one thing was sure when she arrived at the National Tennis Center Sunday morning; she would be playing her final high school tennis match.

One day after graduating from St. Francis Prep, the Terriers No. 1 singles player was set to take on Fieldston’s Allison Hashmall, who also was playing her final high school match, in the 15th annual Mayor’s Cup girls’ varsity final.

Pedergnana, who beat Hashmall for the first time in four matches last month, kept close early, but the fourth-seeded Hashmall played flawless tennis from the middle of the first set on to defeat No. 3 Pedergnana, 6-3, 6-1.

“She hits some deep shots, some heavy balls. Her shots make you back up,” Pedergnana said of Hashmall, who now leads the all-time series 4-1. “She played well, she made me make the mistakes.”

Pedergnana got the best of Hashmall in a three setter last month in Syracuse. When she learned she would get her rematch in the Mayor’s Cup finale, Hashmall, who is heading to Princeton in the fall, used that loss as motivation.

“I was really focused and pumped up,” Hashmall said. “I focused on keeping the ball in play. There were windy conditions and the most important thing is to keep the ball in the court. I think she started to go for it too much and made some errors she shouldn’t have.”

Maryland-bound Pedergnana jumped ahead, 3-2 in the first set with strong first serves and blistering forehands, but her backhand slice? Well, that’s a different story.

“My forehand is always usually there but I struggle with my backhand sometimes,” Pedergnana said. “She had the better shots today, she was on.”

Despite the loss to Hashmall in the finals, Pedergnana left the National Tennis Center pleased after an eventful weekend. After getting her quarter final match against Staten Island Tech’s Anna Cruz pushed back to noon Saturday in order to attend her graduation ceremony, Pedergnana struggled but advanced to the semifinals with a 6-5, 7-5 win.

Awaiting Pedergnana in the semifinals was defending Mayor’s Cup champion second-seeded Sonia Ruzimovsky from Brooklyn Tech. Even Pedergnana was surprised how easily she won, cruising 6-0, 6-2.

“My first goal was to get past the semifinals and beating Sonia was an awesome accomplish­ment,” Pedergnana said. “This is a good way to end my final high school year.”

Francis Lewis pair wins girls’ doubles crown

Megan Iverson and Lauren Wong hadn’t played doubles all year, never mind with each other. But low and behold, the Francis Lewis duo found themselves in the Mayor’s Cup finals against defending champions Danijela and Lisa Vulin from St. Francis Prep.

Iverson and Wong devised a plan.

“We just tried to play to the weaker player,” Iverson said. “We just played consistently and they made a lot of errors.”

Iverson’s and Wong’s plan worked perfectly as they easily beat the top-seeded Vulin sisters, 6-3, 6-1 Sunday at the National Tennis Center.

They learned their lesson from a tough 6-4, 6-4 semifinal win over another pair from St. Francis Prep, second-seeded Denisa Hluchova and Gina Kang.

“It’s hard to hit for winners, because you really have to hit it along the line on a perfect angle,” Iverson said. “We learned that the first match.”

That’s not to say third-seeded Iverson and Wong never went for winners.

“Only when it was right,” said Wong, who will attend St. John’s School of Pharmacy next year.

“Only when it was 40-0,” added Iverson.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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