Girls Tennis Player of the Year: Adjustment to top singles spot fails to faze Zabor
by Adam Carrington
June 05, 2010 12:00 AM | 2467 views | 2 2 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From playing No. 1 doubles two years ago, to playing No. 1 singles for the best team in the state this season, junior Emily Zabor couldn't help but be a little nervous.

Facing every team's top player isn't an easy task for many players, but whatever nervous energy Zabor had subsided quickly.

She proved her worth at the top singles position after Elizabeth Kilborn graduated a year ago and finished with a 14-2 individual record - both losses coming to Centennial's Allison Falkin - which helped the Lady Raiders win their seventh straight state championship and extend their match winning streak to 133.

"I adapted well, but I knew there would be pressure if I wanted to lead a team and win every match," said Zabor, the 2010 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Tennis Player of the Year. "There were nerves at first, but they were good nerves."

Most of Zabor's victories this season were routine, but she did have to battle to earn a couple of them. She pulled out a 6-3, 6-3 win over Milton's Emma Waites and defeated Peachtree Ridge's Mary Jeremiah 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 for the clinching point in Walton's win over the Lady Lions in the state quarterfinals.

"She is amazing to me," Walton coach Roberta Manheim said. "She is a tremendous player. She cares so much about Walton. She is a great player and individual, and I have great expect for Emily Zabor."

The match Zabor will remember most this season was beating Jeremiah, for the first time of her career, to help Walton survive an experienced Peachtree Ridge team in the quarterfinals.

Both players struggled to hold serve during the first two sets, but Zabor's service games started clicking in the third. After breaking Jeremiah at love to begin the final set, Zabor used her service games to stay ahead. She aced Jeremiah at 40-15 to take a 5-3 lead and held at love to clinch the match.

"(Jeremiah) is one of my best friends, and we both knew that this match would be coming up for the last year," Zabor said. "I prepared a ton and stepped up, especially in the third set. This was my biggest moment in my high school career because I've never beaten her, and it was (Walton's) clinching match."

Zabor losses to Centennial's Falkin came during a regular-season Region 6AAAAA match, which Walton survived 3-2, in the state finals. But Zabor did win the first set against Falkin when the teams played for a region title.

"She doesn't miss," Zabor said of Falkin. "She's one of the fastest players I've played against."

Zabor is also playing good tennis away from Walton.

She just clinched the Peach State Junior Classic, beating Blessed Trinity's Kourtney Keegan in the finals, and she teamed with Jeremiah to win the USTA National Open doubles title.

Zabor, who has been playing competitively since she was 8, currently drills with Jerry Baskin at Olde Towne Athletic Club. Her father, Rick, a former Michigan State player, also coaches her.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Tess Donnelly
May 25, 2011
Congratulations Emily! You are truly a great role model!
June 08, 2010
Congratulations Emily. You are a great role model for the younger girls.
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