An injury kept Charlotte Sikora in the crowd, rather than on the court, for last year's Mixed Doubles Charity Tennis Classic at the Country Club of York.
Sikora watched Punch Maleka team with Delia Mask to win the title.
Sikora knew what Mask was feeling, because she had been Maleka's partner in 2016 when they captured the crown.
"Last year, Delia is like, 'I'm coming back next year,'" Sikora said. "I said, 'me, too, so Punch is mine again.'"
Sikora returned this year and joined with Maleka to win another title.
Mask, meanwhile, teamed with Ilia Shatashvili to finish second following a hard-fought championship match Sunday afternoon.
The Maleka-Sikora team prevailed, 6-3, 6-4, with Maleka closing out the match with a service winner. The 10th-and-final game featured two deuces before it was decided.
Last year, Maleka served an ace down the middle on match point.
"I was trying to figure out which was the best serve on match point," he said. "I thought about going for one (an ace), but I decided to stick with the plan, and it worked out."
Hard-fought match: The shot brought an end to an extremely hard-fought match which featured terrific shot making on both sides and drew cheers of appreciation from the crowd.
One rally featured three overhead smashes, all of which were returned, and the players, on numerous occasions displayed deft touches around the net.
"We did expect a close match," Sikora said. "They're high-level players, and they like to take the net. So our strategy was to get to the net first and serve and volley."
The first set was tied at three before Sikora and Maleka captured the final three games.
The teams also split the first six games of the second set, at which point Sikora and Maleka used a service break in the seventh game to go ahead for good.
"We knew they (Mask and Shatashvili) were going to bring it," Maleka said. "It was a matter of a let cord here and a ball that was out just by a little bit there. Last year going in, I hadn't played with Delia before, and I was surprised how quickly we jelled. This year, with Charlotte, we had some plans coming in, and that helped."
International flavor: In the end, Maleka, who's originally from South Africa, and Sikora, who's originally from France, emerged on top.
After attaining the three-peat, Maleka was asked if he planned to return next year and try for four in a row.
"Yeah, sure," he replied.
Sikora and Maleka defeated Laura Glitz and Holden Koons, 6-1, 3-0 (injury default) in one semifinal. In the other semifinal, Mask and Shatashvili bested Lisa Bornt-Davis and Evan Andrews, 6-3, 6-0.
All proceeds from the event will go to help in the fight against the opioid crisis in York County.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.