Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Noah Bragg of Brookline, Mass., makes a backhanded save against Luke Saunders of Halifax, Nova Scotia, en route to the men’s singles title Sunday afternoon at the Yarmouth High School courts – an event that attracted 226 players and was held at five sites for the six tournament brackets.
Photos by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer
Cornelia Deeg uses a veteran’s savvy and position play to frustrate hard-hitting schoolgirl Olivia Leavitt in the women’s final.
"He got more touches, and more touches, and the harder it was to hold," Saunders said. "He did a good job of keeping in it mentally until he found his rhythm."
Bragg's initial plan had been to get to net, but deep and powerful groundstrokes by Saunders neutralized that strategy.
"You can't take that and come in on two or three shots," Bragg said. "You have to wait 10-, 15-, 20-ball rallies to really get to the net and have the point set up. So I just calmed down and made myself take that time."
Bragg held serve to close out the second set, then won five games in a row after Saunders held to open the third. Serving for the match, Bragg led 40-love before Saunders survived two match points to set up their dramatic encounter at net.
"He put his body on the line to win that one for sure," Saunders said. "He definitely earned that point more than I lost that point."
To reach the finals, Bragg beat No. 7 Zach Hall in the quarters and No. 3 Jordan Friedland in the semis, both in straight sets. Saunders likewise dispatched No. 8 Patrick Ordway and No. 4 Sam King, another Bowdoin player.
"There's a lot of tournaments out there," Saunders said, "but I don't think there's anything quite like this, where everybody's happy and everybody's having a barbecue. It's the environment you want to be around, in life. It was definitely worth it. I could lose that match 12 times over and I'd still come back."
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Olivia Leavitt reacts after missing a shot against Cornelia Deeg, later conceding that her opponent’s placement won out over power.