Wilson Tennis - Mendoza

Battling for her third consecutive Moore League singles championship, Wilson High senior Olivia Mendoza wasn’t just going up against Poly’s Jasmine Roberts in the final.

She was also battling a condition that has left Mendoza legally blind in her left eye.

The condition is known as refractive amblyopia and due to this condition, Mendoza wears a corrective contact lens to help with her depth perception.

“It always acted as a challenge because I’m super confident in my line calls,” Mendoza said. “But my opponents in Moore League have challenged my line calls and they didn’t know that I had this eye problem. Once I overcame the doubts, I feel that I have a different style of playing because of it and it makes me work 10 times harder.”

Despite the condition, Mendoza cruised to her third consecutive Moore League win defeating Roberts in straight sets, 6-3 and 6-1, Friday afternoon at Billie Jean King Tennis Center.

“I feel honored and really excited,” Mendoza said. “Especially because the person that won it before me is such an achieved person. I’m just really lucky to have this opportunity and I’m just really thankful for it.”

In the first set, Mendoza got out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back.

“The key to her is that she’s mentally really tough,” Wilson coach Keri McBride said. “Even if she is down, she’s always in there fighting, she is really quick.”

Things looked to change in the second set when Roberts won the first point, but Mendoza took control again, winning six straight points to shore up the title.

“She proved why she is the two-time defending league champion,” Poly coach Ricardo Montecinos said. “I think Olivia is a really tough player. The fact that she has won the Moore League individual singles title three years in a row is an aspect of that. She’s just tough to beat, She’s got a really strong game, gets a lot of balls back and she has great wheels.”

Third-place was a battle between Mey Phy and Sara Soderberg of Poly, with Phy winning in a 10-point tiebreaker.

Mendoza and Roberts met again in another championship battle — in the doubles final.

Roberts and freshman Sara Soderberg outlasted Mendoza and Yesenia Palacios, winning in a 10-point tiebreaker to claim the title.

“It feels fantastic,” Roberts said. “I mean, obviously, I wanted to win the singles too, but to win with this girl over here, Sara, she really was a main part of how amazing this season was for me. I’m glad to be able to share this win with her and experience it with her.”

This was Roberts’ second time in three years being a part of the doubles championship.

“I didn’t know they were doing a 10-point tiebreaker,” Montecinos said. “It feels great. I think it was a really good match for us after that first set. I’m really happy with the results. I can’t wait to get to CIF team (playoffs) and see what happens.”

JJ has covered Long Beach sports for more than a decade. He's written for multiple newspapers in Southern California, produced professional event videos and won numerous awards for his writing and community service.

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