After a two-set defeat to Edmonds-Woodway’s Myint-Zu Kyaw on March 26, Mountlake Terrace’s Nicki Bouche was really looking forward to their rematch. On Tuesday the Terrace senior got her revenge.
Bouche defeated Kyaw 6-4, 6-4 in the highly-anticipated matchup between two of the top prep tennis singles players in the Wesco 3A this year.
“I have never wanted a match like that one,” Bouche said after the 90-minute battle between the two seniors played on the courts at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Bouche’s desire for a win was not just for payback, but because of a deep respect for Kyaw. “She’s an amazing player,” Bouche said. “I have heard so much about her and we had never played each other before this season.”
“I have heard so much about her from newspaper articles and with people telling me that (she) is amazing,” Bouche said of Kyaw. “I wanted to show them that I could compete with her — and I never thought I could before. I never thought I could even touch her.”
Bouche is the reigning District 1 and Wesco 3A South champion, but won those titles last year when Kyaw competed in doubles competition in the post-season.
For Kyaw, Tuesday’s defeat was the first for her this season, and just the second in singles’ competition over the past two seasons.
Kyaw had an early 4-3 lead over Bouche in the first set Tuesday, but Bouche roared back with three straight game wins — two while Kyaw was serving — to take the first set 6-4. The two traded leads throughout the second set before Bouche pulled away for another 6-4 set win and match victory.
Bouche believes a different attitude going into the match helped her to get the win over Kyaw. “I was definitely more prepared mentally,” she said. “Before I was nervous and scared of her, I’m not afraid to admit. But this match I kept in debt my mental game and just played tennis instead of worrying about nerves and reputations.”
Kyaw also noted a difference this time in Bouche from their March 26 tilt. “I think Nicki started off with a lot more confidence; you could see it in her shots,” Kyaw said. “She was playing really well today, and I just couldn’t keep up with her this time. You know, she’s a good player.”
Both Bouche and Kyaw commented on how much they enjoyed playing in a highly-competitive No. 1 singles’ match. “It was just really fun to play that level of tennis and actually get a reward out of it instead of just losing and playing well,” Bouche said.
“There are a lot of good players in the league and Nicki is one of them. It’s always nice to have competitive matches with other good players out there,” Kyaw said.
The two may not be done seeing each other on the court this season as some observers anticipate a Bouche-Kyaw matchup for a Wesco 3A or even a District 1 singles’ championship. But the two competitors don’t know if they will even be competing in singles’ play in the 2015 postseason. Both Mountlake Terrace coach Alberto Ramirez and E-W Coach Dan Crist may opt to place their top singles players in doubles competition for a run at a spot in the state tournament in late May.
While Bouche expressed a desire to defend her league and district singles championships, she isn’t hostile to the idea of playing doubles in the postseason. “Tina (Liu) and I could pair for doubles. I could go for singles. There’s a lot of possibilities,” she said. “I would be fun to go for singles again, obviously, but doubles would be fun too. It’s a hard decision that hasn’t been made yet.”
Edmonds-Woodway has five more team matches while Mountlake Terrace has six matches to play against Wesco 3A opponents this season before league and district tournaments get underway next month.