Springfield – Sweeping into the District 1 Class AAA singles final with three consecutive straight-set victories, two-time defending champion Michael Dickson of Downingtown East hit a bump in the road in the final against Lower Merion’s Matt Robinson.
Robinson, the second seed in the tournament and a player that Dickson had never faced before, won the opening set, 6-4.
Fortunately for Dickson, the bump in the road was only temporary, and the Cougar senior rebounded to win the next two sets, 6-1, 6-3, and his third consecutive District One Class AAA singles title.
“He [Robinson] came out firing in the first set,” said Dickson. “I knew he was a solid player coming in and I knew I was going to have to fight for every point.
“I’m happy I was able to find my game in the second set – I started serving better, and when I serve well the rest of game follows most times. My serve helped me gain confidence as the match went on, and after the first set I started to step into the ball more.
“Once I started stepping in more, I gained more and more confidence which really helped me stay relaxed in the second and third sets.”
Winning the District One singles title never gets old for Dickson, who also captured his first PIAA Class AAA state singles title last spring.
“Winning [a third district title] means a lot to me,” said Dickson. “Having to defend my title, every match is difficult and I had to fight for every point in every match. I’m glad I kept my composure to pull it out.”
After getting a first-round bye in the district singles tournament, Dickson defeated Great Valley’s Nikhil Gangoli, 6-1, 6-2. In his next two rounds, Dickson won by bigger margins in the second set than the first set, defeating Radnor’s Max Safanov, 6-3, 6-1, in the quarterfinals, then beating Council Rock North’s Dan Kliebham, 6-4, 6-0, in the semifinals.
“I would say that [in the quarterfinals and semifinals] I was trying to get an early feel for the type of game that each player wanted to play,” Dickson said, “I [usually] try to hold serve the first few games and see what my opponent will do. I try and pinpoint weaknesses and then try and exploit them in the second set.”
Fun facts – Michael Dickson
Favorite book: Alex Rider series.
Favorite TV show: Hawaii Five-O.
Favorite movie: Fast and Furious 5.
Favorite athlete: Donald Driver.
Favorite team: Green Bay Packers.
Favorite pre-game meal: “Pasta – lots and lots of pasta.”
Favorite place to visit: “My grandparents’ house on a lake in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.”
Person I most admire: “My mom.”
Family members: parents Joel and Lynn, sister Nicole.