Spring-Ford’s Pascual claims second straight PAC-10 Singles crown

GRATERFORD — The top seeds held up as No. 1 Patrick Pascual of Spring-Ford met No. 2 Luke Pain of Perkiomen Valley for the Pioneer Athletic Conference Singles title Saturday afternoon at the Perkiomen Valley High School Courts.

Pascual utilized a steady, consistent game, especially in the second set, to score a 7-5, 6-1 victory that allowed Pascual to earn his second straight PAC-10 Singles crown. Both he and Pain are juniors.

The two players had tangled earlier in the week at the same courts during a dual meet with Pascual also winning that close encounter, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (tiebreaker), which was also held in Graterford. Pain was ahead in that one 5-2 in the third set before letting the victory slip away from his grasp.

The first set was knotted at 5-all before Pascual won the final two games to take the set. Pascual then took charge quickly in the second set, racing out to a 5-0 advantage before winning at 6-1 in a match that lasted 1 hour and 12 minutes.

“I think he got a little down,’ said Pascual. “I increased my intensity. He played well today and I congratulate him with his run in the tournament, and I’m happy with my title today.’

Pascual said he felt no pressure to win and defend his championship.

“I just went out on with my matches, did my thing and do what I do,’ said Pascual. “I practice on my court with my dad and my little brother and my mom is on the court. I just want to thank them for their support through the years. They make me the tennis player I am. Without them, it wouldn’t have been possible.’

In the first set, Pain won the opening game that went to deuce four times. Pascual came right back by holding serve in a game that extended to five deuce points. Pain went up 2-1 on a crosscourt shot at deuce before Pascual forced a 2-2 tie.

Pain went up again at 3-2 on a netter shot at deuce, but Pascual answered with a forehand slam at 40-0 that forged another tie at 3-3. Pascual recorded the first service break in game seven to move in front, 4-3. He was also up 5-3, but Pain stayed alive at 5-4 and then capitalized on a pair of double faults to draw even at 5-5.

The first set featured many long points and long games, and that was also true in game 11 that went in favor of Pascual on another service break. Pascual was up 15-40 on a drop shot and then a forehand that went into the net and closed out the game with two service aces and three deuce points for a 6-5 edge.

“I knew it was going to be a close match,’ said the Vikings’ Pain. “I came out in the first set and played as well as I could, but I couldn’t convert some big points. He (Pascual) played a great match. It was a good match.

“I doubled too many times in the second set. It is difficult when the rallies are so long. It is hard to serve after a long rally. I would have liked to get my first serve in more. That is really my strength, but I couldn’t.’

In the semifinal round, Pascual defeated Methacton sophomore Subhanik Purkayastha 6-0, 6-1 while Pain downed Methacton senior Ryan Hamilton 6-0, 6-0.

NOTES — Spring-Ford coach John Brennan served as tournament director. … He presented medals to the top five finishers. After the finalists came Purkayastha in third place, Hamilton in fourth and Owen J. Roberts senior Utkarsh Pandey in fifth place for the second year in a row. … The top three finishers from the PAC-10 automatically advance to the District 1 Tournament at Healthplex starting Friday. The league could also receive a fourth bid as a wild card at Tuesday night’s seeding meeting for the tournament.

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