By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
When the draw for the 12th Region tennis tournament was announced last week, Berea Community teammates Sam Jackson and Steven Gadd knew there was a very good chance they would meet in the finals.
Gadd was the No. 1 seed, while Jackson was the No. 2 seed.
Both rolled through the field, dropping just eight total games in six matches, setting up an all-Berea showdown Monday at Adams Tennis Center at Eastern Kentucky University.
“We were looking forward to it the whole time,” Gadd said. “We were looking at it as a good thing. It would help our team if we both got (to the final).”
Jackson took the first set, but Gadd stormed back to take the title in a third-set tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-1, 10-5.
Led by Jackson and Gadd, the Pirates easily out-distanced Casey County for a second-straight regional championship.
Berea advances to the state team meet, which is scheduled to begin this weekend.
Gadd used big serving to take control in the tiebreaker.
Trailing 3-2, he ripped two straight serves that put him back in front, then won the next two points on Jackson’s serve to take a 6-3 lead.
A service winner by Jackson got him back in the tiebreaker moments later at 7-5, but Gadd won the final three points to close out the match.
“I focus on my serve a lot,” Gadd said. “It’s always good to be able to hit those types of serves.”
Jackson was in charge early in the match.
He broke Gadd’s serve twice in the opening moments of the first set and ran out to a 4-1 lead. Gadd broke again in the eighth game, then served out the first set.
“I just tried to stay consistent,” Jackson said of the first set. “I was not trying to do much with my short balls and I was placing them nicely. I just got off track with that in the second set.”
In the second set, Gadd quickly turned the momentum.
After holding serve in the first game, Gadd broke in when Jackson double-faulted on break point in his first service game.
Gadd ran out to a 5-0 lead before Jackson fought off a set point to stay in the set.
Gadd, however, served things out moments later.
“I just started hitting my shots deeper with more spin,” Gadd said.