By Kyle LoJacono
Wiregrass Ranch girls tennis player Star Makarome kept her perfect season intact at Plant during the Class 4A regional semifinals April 9.
The Bulls ace took down Panthers’ top player Blair Martin 6-1, 6-2, moving her record to 10-0 for the year. Makarome said she was nervous entering the match against Martin, a senior who led Plant to a state championship in 2011 and tied for the top honor last season.
“I knew she was really famous around Tampa,” Makarome said. “A few days before I was constantly thinking about the match. I knew I had a big task in front of me. Right before the match I didn’t feel nervous anymore, so it’s a good thing I calmed myself down.”
Makarome, who finished as the Class 4A state singles runner-up last season, had never played Martin in singles before.
“I don’t know what I did honestly,” Makarome said with a laugh and a smile. “I just tried to hit everything as hard as I could.”
Makarome said the score doesn’t indicate how difficult it was to win.
“It was 6-1, 6-2, but that match was like an hour and 45 minutes,” Makarome said. “This time I wasn’t the first one done. … Every game went to duce. She had a few chances. I didn’t lose serve the whole match, so that really helped me.”
Makarome secured the win by breaking Martin, who double faulted on match point. The win moves the sophomore’s all-time record to 22-1, with the only loss coming in last year’s state singles championship match.
Plant, which also defeated Wharton 5-0 in the regional finals April 11, beat the Bulls 4-1, but Makarome still advances to the state singles tournament April 17 to 18 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.
“I hope to replicate what I did last year and get one step better,” Makarome said. “Last year was a really great experience. I played some really good players, and I think I have a better feel for who’s there and who’s not. … I’m just going in to play like it’s another Florida tournament.”
Makarome will be joined by teammate Tiffany Garner, a sophomore, in the state doubles tournament for the second straight season. The duo was knocked out in the first round last season.
“I think this year we’ll be more prepared,” Makarome said. “We played really great together during districts. I couldn’t ask for anyone better going into the state doubles tournament.”
—Follow Kyle LoJacono on Twitter: @Kyle_Laker
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