Santa Barbara boys tennis coach Greg Tebbe said it was some of the best tennis he’d seen Nico Pollero play.
The Santa Barbara High senior got his racket on nearly every ball, beautifully mixed up his shots and turned the Channel League singles final into a blowout, beating Petar Jivkov of San Marcos 6-0, 6-1 on Thursday at the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara.
In an all-Santa Barbara doubles final, top-seeded Logan Liddell and Morgan Hale defeated Mitchell Kuhn and Jack Damen, 7-5, 6-0.
Pollero, who was beaten by Jivkov when their teams last met, took control of Thursday’s individual final from the start and played steady throughout both sets. He won eight straight games.
“He kind of suffocated (Jivkov) at the beginning, Santa Barbara coach Greg Tebbe said. Petar came in very confident because he beat him pretty convincingly a couple of weeks ago at our place.”
Jivkov took 15-40 leads in games, but Pollero battled back each time and came out on top.
“I was connecting all the points, I just couldn’t finish them off. That’s pretty much the summary of the match,” said Jivkov. “It’s disappointing to end like that. That’s a dismantlement.”
Pollero said it was all about playing solid tennis.
“I knew I had to make a lot of first serves,” Pollero said. “I was just spinning it in, coming into this body because he likes to hit angles.”
“Nico is mentally tough,” Tebbe said. “He had a great game plan. He started the match very consistent.
“The whole key, in my mind, was the first two or three games he didn’t make an error. That set the tone.”
The title was extra special for the Sacramento State-bound Pollero because he missed last season with an injury and watched his teammate Christopher Grant win it.
“I’m glad to win it this year,” he said.
Pollero put an exclamation point on his victory in the sixth game of the second set. He handled two overhead smashes and won the point with lob over Jivkov’s head.
“I got really lucky on that one, I anticipated it really well,” Pollero said. “It all came together today. I’m really happy.”