With the sun peaking out from behind the clouds and the temperature rising, Jack Flores felt himself tiring at the pivotal stage of the Suffolk tennis singles final.
The Huntington freshman looked down at the court and gave himself some encouragement. “Come on, focus,” he said, before getting through the third set and taking the deciding point for the Suffolk singles title 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 against Half Hollow Hills West’s Jackson Weisbrot at Floyd on Tuesday.
Flores directed his gaze, not downward this time, but skyward, pointing his fingers up in celebration.
“I regrouped, got my focus back together and grinded it out,” Flores said. “Didn’t let anything bother me.”
Flores squeezed out a victory in the first set to take the advantage before Weisbrot swung himself even with a commanding second. The pair had faced off three times this season, with Weisbrot taking the two most recent matchups. The third set showed their familiarity.
“We’ve always been a good rivalry on court and friendly off court,” Flores said. “He’s a good competitor and I always enjoy playing him.”
Flores built a 4-1 lead in the third and made it through his moments of frustration to close out the championship.
“I just focused one point at a time and I didn’t think of the outcome,” Flores said. “Just one point, one shot at a time.”
Hills West takes doubles title
Tyler Nierman and Cameron Klepper can hold their own in a singles match, but put them together on the court and it turns out you can have a county doubles championship pairing.
The Half Hollow Hills West team won the final 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 over Smithtown West’s Nick Gajda and Alex Amadio.
“We took control of the net and whenever we have advantage of the net, we know we can run away with it,” Nierman said.
They used lessons from their past meeting to inform their approach and were able to regain their early aggressive style in the third set.
“We start overthinking and the other team gets a little advantage there,” Klepper said. “Then in the third set, we kind of recovered and gathered our senses and finished.”
Each finalist qualified for the state tournament at the National Tennis Center in Queens on June 1 along with the consolation winners — Hills East’s Abhinav Srivastava in singles and Westhampton’s Dan Tocco and Riley Smith in doubles.