Rainwater excited about return trip to state tourney

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By Goose Lindsay

Kingston senior Sarah Rainwater has accomplished a lot this season. 

In the past two weeks, Rainwater has won both the District 4-A/AA championship and the Region 2-A/AA championship. Now she has her eyes set on a state title as she will compete Thursday morning in the opening round of the 2011 TSSAA Class A/AA State Tournament.

“I’m really excited,” Rainwater said. “I’ve been looking forward to this all season.”

For Rainwater, the 20100 Blue Cross Spring Fling will be her second trip to the state tournament as she competed in the 2009 state tournament in doubles with Eden Sherrod. Rainwater believes that experience will help her as she prepares for this week’s state tournament.

“I’ll be playing at the same complex as before and I should be used to the atmosphere,” she said. “We are staying at the same hotel so it’s not going to be completely unfamiliar.”

Rainwater opens play Thursday at 10 a.m against Trenton Peabody senior Hallie Norman. Norman earned her way into the state tournament by winning the Region 7 championship, but that is all Rainwater knows about her opponent.

“I don’t know anything about her,” Rainwater said. “Normally everyone in a tournament is ranked, but she isn’t in any of the rankings. I hope that’s a good thing, but I’m not sure what to expect.”

While she may be unsure of her opponent, Rainwater does know that she will have to be on top of her game if she is to defeat Norman and win the three matches required to take home the state title. 

“I need to be focused and consistent,” she said. “I need to play like I can play. I’ve got to work on putting points together and then putting good games together.”

Rainwater believes the key to her success Thursday will be how she plays at the net.

“My net game has to be solid,” she said. “I need to move forward well and I have to have my timing down. I’ve also got to hit my overheads well.”

 If Rainwater wins her opening match Thursday morning, she will play Thursday afternoon in the tournament’s semifinals. The championship match is set for noon Friday.