Fraternal twins Charlie and Joey Friedman are not new to the sports of tennis, nor are they new to playing with each other.
But Saturday afternoon, they once again showcased why they will be a force to be reckoned with in their freshman campaign.
After an intense three-set victory on Friday afternoon, the Friedman twins collected a pair of straight-set victories Saturday morning, winning the Flight B draw of the fourth annual Santa Barbara Doubles Tournament.
“They’re just really even-keel guys,” San Marcos coach Jarrod Bradley told the News-Press.
“I don’t even think they thought about winning (the tournament), it’s more about being good together for them and winning each match they play together.”
At 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, while people were either just rolling out of bed or still sleeping in after a long week, the Friedman pairing put forth an impressive effort over Santa Barbara’s Warren Firestone/Hunter Gomersall.
The freshman couplet took care of business in straight sets, while dropping just one game, as Charlie and Joey overpowered their opponents 6-0, 6-1.
In the championship match of the B Flight, the Friedman brothers took on a pairing from Redwood (Marin) High, Dylan Kapur/Jackson Bramlette.
The Redwood duo had also recorded impressive victories, including a straight-set, 6-0, 7-6, win over Dos Pueblos’ No. 2 Keaton Cross/Nikhil Gupta.
One of the things that make the Friedman pairing a formidable foe in their freshman season is their serving.
The two showcased that in the finals, using a strong first serve and even a reliable second serve to defeat the Redwood couplet in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
“They can hit every shot,” Bradley said of his freshman pair.
One example of this are second serves. Second serves are equally as important as first serves, as with only one more chance to get the ball over without committing a fault, the player must switch to more of a topspin shot.
It takes players a while to develop this, but both Friedman twins seem to have a good head start above others.
“They’ve been well-coached and they’ve got developed groundstrokes and volleys and serves, which is pretty rare for high school kids. Most kids come in with groundstrokes and serve, but not necessarily having good second serves and not necessarily being on the volley,” Bradley said.
More important than that, their companionship on the court is noticeable and it gives Bradley confidence even more faith in his duo.
“They communicate really well and understand where to be on the court. They know how to keep the ball in play and stay on points and sometimes even win points that maybe they shouldn’t just because they are in the right place,” Bradley said.
Having won the last three Channel League titles, the Royals will hope to make it four in a row in 2020. Having the Friedman twins helps, but so too does having their older brother, Sam Friedman.
The eldest Friedman, a junior, is one part of San Marcos’ top pair this season, alongside Bryan Shott.
The top pair took part in the A Flight of the tournament, and after losing their match on day one, the couplet bounced back with two wins Saturday as well.
After winning the first in straight sets, Friedman/Shott were in a battle in their consolation final match.
The duo lost the first set 6-3 and was in a tiebreak situation in the second before ultimately pulling out the 7-6 (5) win to force a third.
In the tiebreak set, which is first to 10 points while also winning by at least two, the San Marcos couplet stepped up for a 10-7 win in the third set.
“They showed me a lot in their last match. For them to come back and win was great. They stayed positive, they weren’t worried about their errors and they didn’t let the mistakes affect them. They were able to compete and win big points when it mattered most,” Bradley said.
The final San Marcos team, Jayden Duncan/Giulio Rambelli, split their final matches Saturday.
And, while the doubles looked good for the Royals, Bradley knows his singles depth is also strong this year, which has him excited as the 2020 season continues on.
“We’ve got a really good mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen and this team works harder than just about any other I’ve had in my 20 years of coaching. They just work really hard, they’ve got great camaraderie and I’m excited about their potential,” Bradley said.
“I teach, I own a business and I do a lot of other things so I am always excited when the season starts again. A lot of people don’t give tennis a lot of credit but it’s incredibly fun sport to watch especially doubles so it’s fun to watch these guys progress and improve as players.”
In other action from Channel League teams, DP’s Daniel Troung and Andy Yang won the D Flight of the doubles tournament as well as Chris Schniepp and Will Steinberg who won the C Flight with a pair of straight-set wins.