After taking care of his semifinal opponent in two efficient sets, Falmouth junior Nick Forester waited to see who would join him in the championship match of the MPA singles state tournament.

The other semifinal featured a pair of seniors, Alex Klemperer of Falmouth and Jacob Greene of Waynflete, in a match that would require three sets to decide. If Klemperer won, teammates would meet in the final for the first time since 2010. If Greene prevailed, Maine would see its first singles final bereft of a backhand. That’s because both Forester and Greene – each tutored by Woodlands director of tennis Harvey McCartney – have learned to hit forehands from both wings.

“That was interesting,” Forester said of the possibilities. “It was cool having two people from the same (school) and same different style.”

As things turned out, Klemperer outlasted Greene before falling 6-4, 6-1 to Forester in the final. Two weeks later, Forester and Klemperer hoisted the Class A state championship plaque for the second year in a row as Falmouth capped a perfect season with a 5-0 shutout of Camden Hills in the team final.

For never dropping as much as a set all season, Forester is our choice as Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year for boys’ tennis.

“His balls are heavy and they come in deep,” Klemperer said. “No matter what you hit, he’s always there, and he’s bringing it back with pace and spin. It’s hard to get control of the points.”

Forester is the third Falmouth schoolboy to win the state singles crown, joining Brendan McCarthy (2014) and Brian Patterson (1992, 1995). After losing a tough three-setter in last spring’s final to two-time champion Nick Mathieu of Mt. Ararat, Forester seemed destined to win this spring. Two players who might have been challengers, Mt. Ararat freshman Nathan Mao and Thornton Academy junior Dariy Vykhodtsev, decided to concentrate on USTA competition rather than playing for their high school teams.

Then again, Forester assumed nothing.

“I don’t take anything for granted,” he said, “especially after what happened freshman year.”

Indeed, in the opening set of his 2016 semifinal against Vykhodtsev, Forester was ahead 4-3 when he stepped on a ball from an adjacent court and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury required extensive rehabilitation, but not surgery, and Forester was back in form for his sophomore season.

An athletic background likely aided his recovery. He has played soccer and golf in high school, and before that played baseball and basketball. A natural left-hander, Forester writes with his right hand but serves with his left. At 4, he started playing tennis, and by 9 was hitting forehands with either hand.

He’s also grown three inches since freshman year and now stands a shade over 6 feet. His younger brother, Jack, is a freshman and played a few matches at second doubles. All of Jack’s forehands are from the right side.

Next week, Forester will play in a showcase event at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, giving college coaches a chance to observe and chat up potential recruits. He plans to remain in the Northeast, but has made no decisions.

Graduation claimed two seniors from Falmouth’s lineup, and Jack Forester could join his older brother on another formidable team.

Like Mao and Vykhodtsev, Forester has aspirations of competing in college. The idea of not playing for his high school team never crossed his mind.

“I enjoy doing stuff with my teammates,” he said. “Every day I enjoyed going to practice, playing with Alex, playing with (freshman) Matt Ray.”

Forester has taken part in plenty of USTA tournaments and is currently ranked 23rd in New England among 18-and-under boys.

“All year, we go to these events and you don’t know anyone,” he said. “You don’t really talk to anyone. The more social aspect of being on a team – and a very good team – is very enjoyable.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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