By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL -- Parker Wilson was frustrated.
The Handley freshman, who seemed to be in total control of the first set, suddenly found himself in trouble against Sherando's Chris Mikus. Wilson's original game plan suddenly wasn't working and he found himself facing two set points.
On the fly, Wilson decided to go with a different strategy and it worked to help him pull out a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over Mikus in the Northwestern District individual singles final Friday at Skyline.
"He had two set points, and I thought I'm just gong to throw the ball up and make him take the risks not me," Wilson said of revised game plan. "And it started to work out well."
Early on everything was going Wilson's way as he built a 5-1 lead, but Mikus responded with five straight game to take a 6-5 lead in the opening set.
"I started out a little slow," Mikus said. "I feel like I wasn't bending my knees as much as I should. And I was making a lot more unforced errors than I should. I was trying to rush the point and finish the point faster than I should have been."
Wilson eventually used a service winner to hold serve and force a tiebreaker. Mikus built a quick 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but Wilson responded with six consecutive points to win the opening set in 45 minutes.
Wilson finished the set off in style as he just barely got to a shot at the net before the ball bounced a second time and it flicked it over for the winner.
"Carter [Watts] and I, when we hit around, we practice shots like that so it came in handy there," Wilson said. "It was kind of a prayer, but I couldn't ask for more out of that shot."
Wilson broke Mikus' serve in the fourth game and didn't look back in winning his first singles title. The two lefty's split their regular season meetings, and didn't finish their match in the district team competition.
Wilson was excited to win his first district title, in just his first year at the varsity level.
It's definitely a great privilege as a freshman to win this because not many do it," Wilson said. "Mikus is a great player, so It's definitely nice to beat him. He's nice guy to play against. I have fun playing against him. It's always competitive."
Despite the loss, Mikus was happy with how he played.
"I'm proud of my performance. I think I did well," Mikus said. "He played great today."
Wilson teamed with Taylor Watts to win the individual doubles title, beating Mikus and Matt Blaney, 6-3, 6-3.
The match was close throughout the first set, but a very long eighth game proved vital. The game went five deuces before a forehand return winner by Wilson gave the Handley pair a 5-3 lead. Watts then used an ace and a service winner to help give the pair the opening set.
"It was definitely a big momentum changer," Wilson said of the long eighth game. "We needed that one. It got our confidence going into the next game and the next set."
The same thing happened in the second set, as the Handley pair pulled out a three-deuce game to take another 5-3 lead. A Wilson forehand return winner sealed the match for the Handley pair.
"I think we played pretty well. The key at 4-3 in each set was getting balls in play," Watts said. "I'm excited, I'm ready to move onto regionals. One tournament at a time and hopefully get to states."
All of the individuals in the finals advance to the Region II individual tournament on May 28 and 29 at Millbrook.
Mikus said he was pleased with how he and his teammate played in the doubles final.
"I was happy with our performance. Matt [Blaney] played really well today," Mikus said.
"We played all right, but it could have been better," Blaney said. "I think that performance set us up well for regionals."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org