PORTLAND, Maine — Last spring Jordan Friedland won the state schoolboy tennis singles championship for himself.
On Wednesday afternoon the top-seeded senior from Lincoln Academy in Newcastle shared that success while winning a second straight state crown with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over second-ranked Brendan McCarthy of Falmouth.
The title match was played indoors at the Racket & Fitness Center due to inclement weather.
“When I won it last year I really wanted it for myself, it was a personal goal that I had,” said Friedland, who will attend Stanford University this fall. “This year for me there was actually less pressure. I wanted to come here and have a good time and see if I could win it for my friends, my family and Lincoln Academy.”
Second-seeded Olivia Leavitt, a sophomore from Falmouth, won the girls state title by defeating top-ranked and defending champion Maisie Silverman of Brunswick 6-1, 6-1 in a baseline battle.
The win not only avenged a three-set loss to Silverman in last year’s semifinals, but also marked the completion of Leavitt’s battle back from an injury that had sidelined her for much of the winter.
“All winter I couldn’t play tennis because I injured my left wrist, I hit forehands but I could not hit backhands,” she said. “I started playing tournaments at the end of February, and of course my goal is always to win the state tournament but I was so worried about playing this year I was like, ‘Oh my God, am I going to be able to play?’
“But I went to PT (physical therapy) and strengthened it up, and this whole week before the tournament and this morning I had the best feeling that I was going to win.”
The pivotal moment of the Leavitt-Silverman rematch may have come during the third game of the opening set. The players had split the first two games and Leavitt was serving at 40-15 when Silverman hit what she thought was a winner and said, ‘Let’s go,’ only for Leavitt to return the shot before Silverman won the point with a volley.
Play stopped momentarily when Leavitt voiced her displeasure with Silverman’s self-exhortation.
“She yelled in the middle of the point and that’s not allowed,” said Leavitt.
When play resumed, Leavitt served out the game on the next point and went on to use strong baseline play and timely advances to the net to win 10 of the next 11 games to complete the victory.
“After that I feel like I wasn’t as focused as I was in the beginning,” said Silverman, a junior making her third straight appearance in the championship match. “But she played really well. She really didn’t miss a shot at all, I could tell she really wanted it.”
McCarthy, a Round of 16 qualifier as a sophomore last spring, had a chance to gain some early momentum against Friedland, with the boys finalists tied at 2-2 in the first set and the defending champion serving at love-30.
But Friedland rallied to hold serve en route to winning 11 of the final 12 games in a match played mostly on the baseline.
“His slice backhand is really different from most people, but he’s just pretty solid all the way around,” said McCarthy. “He’s good.
“I mostly just tried to work to the backhand, but it didn’t really work.”
All four finalists advanced with straight-sets semifinal victories earlier Wednesday.
Perhaps the most anticipated of those matchups featured McCarthy against 2011 state champion Patrick Ordway of Waynflete in Portland, the No. 3 seed.
McCarthy and Ordway split two matches earlier this spring, but McCarthy won their third meeting by adopting some of his opponent’s tactics, particularly late in the second set.
The steady McCarthy cruised to a 6-2 first-set victory, but the big-serving Ordway battled to a 4-4 tie in the second set and then held a love-40 lead against McCarthy’s serve. But McCarthy became the aggressor, working his way to the net to hold serve before breaking Ordway to close out the match.
Friedland’s well-rounded game proved too much for No. 4 Matt Gilman of Cape Elizabeth during his 6-2, 6-2 semifinal win.
Silverman spotted fifth-seeded Falmouth freshman Julia Brogan a 3-2 first-set lead, then used her steady baseline play to win 10 of the next 11 games to secure a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
Leavitt won an all-Falmouth affair in the other girls semifinal, defeating No. 6 Libby Voccola 6-3, 6-2.
“The game plan was just to stay very patient and take advantage of short balls when I could, I love coming up to net and my overheads were very good today,” said Leavitt. “I also just tried to keep it to her backhand and then after hitting three or four shots to her backhand go over to the angle forehand.”