Axelle Jacquemin was on the brink of seeing her hopes of returning to the state tennis tournament dissipate.
The Rider senior trailed 3-0 in her semifinal match at the Region I-5A Tournament in Lubbock. A loss meant her only chance of advancing was through a possible playback, and there wasn’t a guarantee one would be warranted.
But an issue that probably annoys most players allowed Jacquemin a moment to regroup.
“I broke a string when I went down 3-0,” Jacquemin recalled. “I said to myself, ‘New racket, new me.’ I was able to reset. “
Jacquemin rallied to beat Abilene Wylie’s Kate Delgado, 7-5, in the final set, advancing to the finals. She faced more adversity against Amarillo High’s Eleanor Archer, dropping the first set, 6-2.
After what happened in the semifinals, Jacquemin didn’t panic and won the next two sets, claiming the Region I-5A girls singles title and advancing to state for the second straight season.
Jacquemin opens state tournament play at 8 am Tuesday in San Antonio, playing Frisco Heritage’s Saundarya Vedula in the quarterfinals.
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A year ago, Jacquemin isn’t sure she’d even be at state if she faced the same adversity she overcame at the Region I-5A Tournament.
“I think I’ve gotten a lot stronger mentally,” Jacquemin said. “II was really weak mentally last year. I read a lot of books about how to improve myself mentally. That helped a lot learning how to be mentally tough.
“At regionals, I played two three-set matches and all I had to do was just be mentally blank. I don’t have to be angry about how I just played. I just have to move forward and completely reset. “
Jacquemin believes strengthening her mental state will help her advance further at state this year. In 2021, she lost her first match to Reika Nagai from Frisco Centennial despite winning the opening set.
“I was not mentally prepared for state last year,” Jacquemin said. “So I think this year is going to be better. Honestly, it’s just me staying positive. “
Jacquemin has also adopted a more patient style of play, opting to keep the ball in play more as opposed to constantly going for winners that can get her in trouble if she misses.
“All I have to do is put the ball back in. I don’t ‘have to hit it hard every time, I just have to put the ball in play, ”Jacquemin said. “I became a little more constant. That’s hard for me sometimes because I’m very impatient. I like to go for the point. I like to go big, but it doesn’t work all the time.
“A lot of the time when I go big, the person I’m playing still gets to the ball, and that makes me mad. I feel like they shouldn’t get to it, but they do. So I’ve learned that just keeping the ball in play works. “
As for this year’s tournament, Jacquemin insists she hasn’t looked at the draw. The only reason she knows who she’s playing in the quarterfinals is because her coach di lei, Dale Murdock, has told her.
Jacquemin has played Vedula before, defeating her in a University Tennis Rating tournament two years ago. But she’s not sitting on those laurels.
“I’m not worrying about anything but me. I can’t look at the draw because it will just stress me out, ”said Jacquemin, who will play at Lubbock Christian in the fall. “It’s just better for me to not look at the draw and take it one match at a time. I know I beat this girl before, but I don’t remember the score. That doesn’t matter because it could change this time.
“I’m just mentally preparing for it this time. I think it will be a lot better for me. “