April 25, 2018
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Thompson ousts Flynn in semifinals


LEWISTON, Maine — Bob Tom Flynn tried his best to break through the Waynflete juggernaut that filled the rest of the boys semifinal field at Monday’s high school tennis state singles championships.

But top-ranked Brandon Thompson refused to let the John Bapst of Bangor junior spoil the Portland school’s party.

Thompson used a superior lefthanded serve and a well-rounded mix of baseline shots, volleys and even drop shots to turn aside the fifth-ranked Flynn 6-2, 6-0 at the Wallach Tennis Complex on the campus of Bates College.

“He’s just a really, really solid player,” said Flynn. “He has every stroke, and today he was just better at everything.”

Thompson, a junior who also reached the finals last spring, went on to win his first state crown by defeating Waynflete teammate Patrick Ordway 6-3, 6-2 in the title match.

Second-ranked Elena Mandzhukova of Brunswick, a Bulgarian-born exchange student from Portugal, won the girls crown with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) victory over top-seeded Analise Kump of Falmouth.

Second-seeded Ordway, a freshman and the younger brother of former three-time girls state champion Christine Ordway of Waynflete, reached the boys final by defeating yet another Waynflete product, third-ranked Devin Van Dyke 6-1, 7-5.

Kump topped No. 4 Emilie Cloutier of Lewiston 6-2, 6-1 and Mandzhukova defeated No. 3 Annie Criscione of Falmouth 6-0, 6-1 in the girls semifinals.

Thompson used his serve to take charge of his semifinal, with six aces and two service winners in the first set alone.

Not bad for someone coming back from a shoulder injury that sidelined him last winter and still requires physical therapy.

“I mix in first serves here and there,” said Thompson. “I haven’t gone with all first serves for all of a match. I’m not pushing my shoulder yet, but it’s getting better.”

When Thompson didn’t get immediate gratification from his first serve, his high-kicking second serve pinned Flynn deep in the backcourt, leaving the Waynflete star with the option of attacking the net or occasionally drawing Flynn in with drop shots.

“During the warmups, once I saw that serve I was thinking about what return I was going to use and whether I was going move forward or not,” said Flynn, “and none of it worked.”

Thompson’s serving dominance added pressure on Flynn to come through on his own service games, and Thompson was able to break for a 2-1 first-set lead and then added a second break to stretch his lead to 5-2.

“His serve just absolutely dominated,” said Flynn. “Every single game I felt I was down even before he served, and it put more pressure on my serves and my strokes.”

Thompson managed just one ace in the second set, but by that time he was asserting control with the rest of his game.

“I tried everything, mixing it up, whatever I could do,” said Flynn, “but he’s just so solid. His second serve has so much spin, and he has such a wingspan. I’ve never played anyone with a second serve like that.”

For Flynn, who reached the state Round of 16 as a sophomore, there was some consolation in being the best non-Waynflete player in this year’s singles draw.

“I definitely wanted to try to make it to the semis, which I did,” said Flynn, whose sister Erin reached the girls singles semifinals in 2008. “I knew Patrick, Devin and Brandon would be the top three here and I hoped I could try to beat one of them. Unluckily I got Brandon in the semifinals, but I kind of surpassed my goals.”

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