WATERVILLE, Maine — After six sets of tennis covering some five hours apiece, Jordan Friedland and Maisie Silverman could be excused if fatigue was the overriding feeling on their minds late Monday afternoon.
But little could override the reward they got from their efforts.
Friedland, a junior from Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, and Silverman, a sophomore from Brunswick, each survived three-set challenges in both their semifinal and final matches to win the state high school tennis singles championships at the Alford-Wales Tennis Facility on the campus of Colby College.
“I was exhausted, but I kept putting [it] out of my mind,” said the top-ranked Silverman, who edged No. 2 Annie Criscione of Falmouth 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the girls final. “I can sleep for as many days as I want now. I just wanted to win, and I did.”
The fifth-seeded Friedland, a state quarterfinalist each of the last two years, outlasted the top two seeds to win the boys title — overcoming top-ranked defending state champion Patrick Ordway of Waynflete of Portland in the semifinals before edging No. 2 Justin Brogan of Falmouth 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in the championship match.
“I’m just really happy,” said Friedland. “That was my goal. I’ve played all of these players before and I’ve been able to beat them before. It was just a matter of how much I wanted it.”
Friedland broke Brogan in the first set of the match, and that proved to be the only break of that set. But of the 21 games played in the final two sets, 15 were service breaks.
Brogan broke Friedland’s serve in the 12th game of the second set to even the match when Friedland hit a forehand long while trying to fight off his sixth set point.
Friedland, who was able to dictate the pace of much of the baseline play in the match with an assortment of topspin and slice shots directed at different angles, finally held serve in the sixth game of the third set for a 4-2 lead, then broke Brogan again with a forehand winner down the line to take ultimate control.
“[Brogan] played a different game in the second set, he played more aggressively,” said Friedland, who avenged a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Brogan in last spring’s quarterfinals. “I started letting up on my service game because I had won the first set and stupidly thought it was all over, but he’s a great player and has a tough serve, and in the end it ultimately came down to who could hold serve in the last two sets.”
For Brogan, a sophomore, this marked the second straight year he reached the final match only to fall in three sets.
“I thought I played really well,” said Brogan, who defeated No. 3 Matt Gilman of Cape Elizabeth 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals. “Out of nowhere he came up with a lot of big shots and that didn’t allow me to get in a groove. He ran a lot of balls down.”
Silverman, who also lost in last year’s final, fought off a determined effort by Criscione, one of three Falmouth players to reach the girls semifinals.
“The last match all I was thinking was how much I wanted this and how much I trained for this,” said Silverman. “I really just played my heart out and Annie did, too. It was a great match, but I’m just glad I could pull it off in the end.”
This was largely a baseline battle, with Silverman getting off to a faster start but Criscione rebounding midway through the match to force a third and final set.
“There’s always pressure,” said Silverman, who defeated Criscione 6-3, 7-5 in last year’s semifinals. “But before every point I was thinking, ‘I believe, I want this,’ and because of that I feel like I pulled through.
“The third set was close the whole way. Annie played really well. It was definitely a battle that could have gone either way.”
Silverman also needed three sets to defeat Falmouth freshman Olivia Leavitt 7-4, 0-6, 6-3 in a 2-hour, 45-minute semifinal, while Criscione defeated classmate Analise Kump 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final.
Friedland reached the boys’ final by using his return of serve and groundstrokes to overcome Ordway’s big serve and powerful forehand.
“I’ve played him a lot, so I can read his serve well and that was a big factor,” said Friedland after his 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 semifinal victory. “I knew I had to put pressure on his serve and try to make every single return because I knew he’d try to make big shots off his serve.”
Ordway broke at 6-5 to win the first set, but Friedland frustrated the Waynflete junior while cruising to his second-set victory.
Ordway regained the momentum early in the final set, breaking Friedland’s serve at love in the third game en route to building a 4-2 lead.
But Friedland held serve to 3-4, then broke through on one of the longest games of the morning match to not only tie the set at 4-4 but seemingly wrest the momentum away.
“I felt like that game was do or die and I gave everything I had,” said Friedland. “It was a long game with five or six deuces. That was the deciding game of the match; after that, all of the momentum shifted to me.”