One for an underdog, one for a favorite
WATERVILLE — Jordan Friedland was the underdog going into the final two rounds of the high school boys´ singles tennis state championships Monday, in a field that included last year´s champion and runner-up and a third semifinalist from 2011.
By the end of the day at Colby College, however, Friedland had knocked off the top seeds to become the first player from Lincoln Academy to win a singles state championship.
Meanwhile, Maisie Silverman, a sophomore from Brunswick, backed up her No. 1 ranking by winning the girls´ title after placing second a year ago.
Friedland, seeded fifth, and Silverman survived three-set battles in both the semifinals and finals.
Friedland, a junior, advanced by defeating the defending champion, Patrick Ordway of Waynflete, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, in a match that took two hours to complete. Then, he outlasted No. 2 Justin Brogan of Falmouth, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
"Both of his opponents have very different ways of playing," Lincoln Coach Michael Blake said. (Ordway) has lots of pace and hits the ball extremely hard, and (Brogan) has a more similar style to Jordan. I think having to switch gears in two matches in one day is a difficult thing to do, and he was terrific."
Friedland didn´t consider his wins upsets.
"In terms of seedings, I guess it´s an upset, but I play these guys a lot, and we split a lot of matches," he said. "Today, I came out on top. Any other day, it might have gone the other way."
Silverman, meanwhile, just refused to lose.
"The key for me was how much I believed and how much I wanted and how much I prayed for this," she said. "I´ve wanted this forever, and I´m so glad I could pull it off."
In the semifinals, Silverman was on the court for nearly three hours against Falmouth freshman Olivia Leavitt, the fifth seed, finally pulling out a 7-5, 0-6, 6-3 win. In the finals, she won the last two games to eke out a 6-3 4-6, 6-4 victory over No. 2 Annie Criscione of Falmouth.
"She just kept her intensity up," Brunswick Coach Rob Manter said. "She could have run out of gas at the end, but I think the adrenaline kicked in, and she just had a will to win. She wanted to win, and I think she wanted it more than anybody, and I think that made the difference in the end."
Friedland kept his opponents off balance with his backhand, which he can hit with either a slice or top spin.
"It gives my game a little more variety, having a slice backhand that stays low and a top-spin backhand that can kick up on a guy."
Both players had trouble holding serve in the last two sets of the boys´ final.
"I think the second set today, there was a string of 10 consecutive breaks, and the third set there was a string of four, I think," Friedland said. "It was really hard to hold serve. You had to play every point like it was the last one."
Holding serve also was a problem in the girls´ final, but Silverman was able to keep the ball in play more often than Criscione.
"She kept pressure on with her ground strokes," Manter said. "Her opponent came back with some great shots, and she didn´t fold."
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: