The Wakefield High School sophomore earned a 7-5, 6-2 victory against Broughton’s Maggie Kane to claim the 4A women’s singles state championship Saturday at the Millbrook Exchange Park tennis courts in Raleigh.
It capped a dominant two days in which Boyden became the first girl from a Wakefield tennis team to win the 2013 state singles title. In doing so, she finished with a perfect record, having remained unbeaten throughout the season.
“It feels great but I was very fortunate to win and there are so many good players competing and I had to continually work hard,” Boyden said.
Her powerful serve along with a fluid forehand volley and the quickness to rush the net at any time were all evident in her road to the championship.
She stands 5 feet 8 inches and uses her height to good advantage and her serve and volley game stands up well against all type of opponents.
In the championship match, Boyden got off to a slow start against Kane, a familiar opponent that Boyden defeated in this year’s Cap 8 Conference Tournament and the 4A Regionals title match.
She found herself down 2-5 against Kane in the first set and had to battle and come from behind to get the win.
While she is very familiar with Kane’s game, Boyden said she was also nervous about playing her again.
“I felt comfortable playing her but didn’t have that confidence because she is a great player and I knew the match could go either way,” Boyden said.
“I do know her game very well and this was the third straight week we have played against each other,” she went on to say.
Boyden added that she was pleased overall with her play despite the cold temperatures on both mornings.
“The weather did bother me a little bit and I wasn’t used to playing in really cold weather,” she said.
Wakefield High tennis coach Ken Stewart said Boyden had the most difficult draw of the tournament.
“She was terrific,” Stewart said, “and came through.”
“It was a study in determination and skill,” Stewart added. “She really played with a lot of courage and heart. When she got down in the match she persevered every time.”
In the opening round Friday, Boyden defeated Brooke Pritchard of East Chapel Hill High School in straight sets, 6-0. 6-2.
She faced Grace Deering of Charlotte Catholic School in the second round and won the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-5 and in the second set, she won by a score of 6-3.
“Either one of us could have won that first set,” Boyden said. “It was a toss- up but winning that set was the key because it gave me a boost of confidence.”
“If she had won the tiebreaker, there is a good chance she could have pulled out the match,” Boyden added.
Things got a little more tested for Boyden in her semi-final match against West Forsyth’s Chelsea Sawyer, who Boyden has partnered with in a past doubles match.
Boyden lost the first set 3-6 but rallied back to win the next two 6-2, 6-4.
“Down 4-3 to Chelsea and down game point, Susanne played the best point of the tournament,” Stewart said. “It was a pleasure to watch.”
Boyden said her strategy was to just take one point at a time and not worry about losing in the first set.
“When Susanne played well, she was dominant and when she didn’t, she out-thought and outhustled her opponent,” Stewart said. “It was a hard fought and well deserved title for her.”