MORAGA -- With a mighty overhead smash and loud yell, Albany High's Andrew Gu made an emphatic finish to a remarkable two-year run to start his high school tennis career.
The final point was an exclamation mark in a 6-2, 6-3 win over Castro Valley's Miguel Diaz in the North Coast Section Division I boys singles final on May 4 at Saint Mary's College, giving Gu his second NCS individual title in as many years.
Gu, a sophomore, admitted he didn't expect to win two straight championships to begin his prep career. Fresh off his victory on a hot, sunny day, Gu said it was harder to win the title in 2013 than it was in 2012.
"I could feel pressure because I had to defend my title," Gu said. "I wanted to win it again. It's big to me. I'm proud of it."
Gu and Diaz found a quick rhythm in the first set, exchanging many long rallies to start the match. The score was knotted at 2-2 through the first four games before Gu started dictating the tempo of the match with a strong serve.
He was also able to break Diaz's serve on consecutive occasions en route to winning four straight games to earn the 6-2 first-set victory.
The second set featured a similar storyline, as the two competitors were locked in a 3-3 tie through six games before Gu claimed three straight games to win the match.
"My serve was really working," Gu said. "(Winning the title) took hard work, it took a lot of focus, a lot of mental training and it finally paid off during the end."
Diaz, meanwhile, was sad to see his prep career end, but the senior is headed to the University of the Pacific to play tennis.
"I'm pretty disappointed," said Diaz about the finals loss. "But he played really good. Can't really do anything about it. I tried to fight in the end, but he was playing too well."