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San Luis' Rafael Rodriguez tops Fiddler, Castro to win Magin Invite
Rafael Rodriguez proved that he made big strides in the offseason. The rest of the field showed that the region title race is wide open.
Rodriguez, the San Luis No. 1, defeated Gila Ridge's Charlie Fiddler 6-1, 6-1 in the championship match of Magin Invitational on Saturday at Yuma High to take home the tournament's trophy.
Using a variety of lobs and smashes, Rodriguez broke Fiddler down and forced the Gila Ridge No. 1 into a series of frustrating mistakes.
"I didn't have my best day, but I think that's the best I've seen (Rodriguez) play," Fiddler said. "He's definitely improved, he's done a lot of offseason work. He just got a lot better."
To reach the championship match, Rodriguez defeated the 2009 tournament winner and reigning Gila Valley Region champion Albert Castro of Cibola 6-2, 6-0. It's the first time a San Luis player has won the tournament.
"It wasn't really easy because he wasn't having a good day," Rodriguez said. "I've played him on a good day and he is really good. I guess it was just a good day for me and a bad day for him."
The Raiders No. 1 defeated Rodriguez in the pair's first meeting of the season 6-2, 4-6, 10-7 on Tuesday.
But Castro struggled through the tournament's final day, winning a combined four games over two matches. He was unable to find his stroke and lost to Kofa's Ryan Thornburg in the tournament's third-place game 6-2, 6-0.
"I'm just so angry because I lost and I know I could have done better than fourth place," Castro said. "I need to work harder and just concentrate on tennis. All these guys were practicing offseason and I wasn't. I'm just going to work twice as hard."
The match was Thornburg's first win against Castro in five tries.
Castro won Game 1 of the first set, but was unable to build any momentum. Thornburg won the next three games and cruised to the match victory.
"It was good to finally get that win over him," Thornburg said. "I think he was pretty discouraged from just losing to (Rodriguez). I guess my loss just wasn't as discouraging."
In the tournament's semifinal Fiddler defeated Thornburg 3-6, 6-3, 10-6 to advance to the finals against Rodriguez.
In the girls tournament, held at Gila Ridge, Cibola's Samantha Chambless defeated Kofa's Taylor McKenna 0-6, 6-3, 10-4 in the championship match. Chambless, a senior, finished third at last year's tournament.
In the third-place game Cibola's Stephanie Ramirez defeated San Luis' Krystal Rodriguez 3-6, 6-1, 10-4.