Culver City Observer -

Culver's Garrido Excels In Tennis Tournament


January 1, 2015

Alexandra Solovyev

Garrido set to hit forehand

By Fred Altieri

Sports Reporter

It's not often that Culver City High girls tennis has a player advance deep into the playoffs.

But the team turned out such a gem this season as senior Danielle Garrido advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 2014 CIF Girls Individual Tennis Championship Singles.

She then lost a two-hour grueling match to a long-time rival in her second match of the day on December 3 at the Seal Beach Tennis Center.

Garrido is considered one of the best junior tennis players in Southern California and she lived up to her billing by leading the team in singles during the season while continuing her education in the school's independent study program. She comes from a family with a long history of accomplished tennis players.

Head coach Phil Rothenberg gave a first-hand account of Garrido's quest from the end of the league through the playoff sectionals and into the championships, perennially one of the strongest high school tennis tournaments in the nation:

"Danielle, one of the South Bay's most accomplished tennis players, finished second in the Ocean League finals which qualified her for the playoff sectionals. She was not expected to advance but won her first match easily."

Coach continued: "Danielle then upset the number one player from San Marino in an incredibly long match with the first set taking one hour and 20 minutes. The points were long and tennis was great.

Danielle lost the first set 5-7, won the second 6-0, and then won a 10 point super tie-break in lieu of a final deciding set 10-6."

Danielle Garrido on her mindset going into the event: "I was pretty confident as I knew most of the girls playing in the tournament. I've been playing tennis since I was eight years old and have played in countless tournaments so it was like any other tournament for me. I just had to get out there and play my game."

After an opening round bye and a win over Katie Wee of Cerritos, 6-0, 6-3, Garrido recalled her third round battle against Devon Jack of San Marino: "She was up 5-2 and I told myself that I didn't want to lose to her. So I started to get more balls in play. We had really long rallies that were well played. It was battle-fitness at that point because we were evenly-matched."

"I could see that she was already tired and knew that if I kept it up she was going to break. She's a really good player but I was more fit than her. The super tie-break was neck and neck. After six-all I hit four amazing drop shots in a row and she just lost her spirit."

Coach Rothenberg: "In the next round Danielle was again the underdog, but defeated the number one player from Brentwood, 6-3, 6-2."

Garrido commented on playing another familiar opponent, Grace Danco of Brentwood: "We used to train together and had the same coach for like two years. I was confident because I had never lost to her before.

"She's a great player but I think I have a psychological affect on her and she's younger than me. That week it rained for five days so I didn't even touch the racket before that match. I didn't play well but you've got to do what you've got to do to win. It was shaky but I pulled through."

Rothenberg: "Danielle had to then play the number two player in the entire tournament. Danielle's run ended as she lost, 1-6, 2-6. The scores don't indicate how close the match was. It was two hours of long points and great play. Danielle pushed, was very gritty and made the her opponent work hard to earn her points."

It was to be her final high school match but Garrido appreciated the quality of play against Ryan Peus of Peninsula High: "I was really determined to beat her. She's always been a top player and seed. Every game seemed to go to deuce and some went 10 minutes long. Our rallies were crazy: the placement and how hard we were hitting.

"She's an all-around player so it's hard to tell what her weaknesses are. I was trying to extend the points but she was having a great day and did not want to lose to me. There were very few unforced errors. I'm proud of how we played. I just wish it was a better outcome."

Katherine Garrido

Danielle Garrido

Garrido mentioned her tennis inspirations: "My favorite players are Roger Federer, obviously, I like Dominika Cibulkov√° and Kim Clijsters is my all-time favorite. I feel Federer's form is perfect, he doesn't physically strain his body too much and his timing is perfect. I wish to be like that."

Coach Rothenberg concluded: "Throughout the tournament Danielle played super. She stretched out the points, made her opponents play ball after ball, played great defense, mixed up her shot selection and played an all-court game.

"To reach the next to last round and be one of final 16 girls in CIF Indivdual Singles in all of Southern California is quite an accomplishment. The other coaches and players came to recognize how talented Danielle is and to respect her game."


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