Update (5 p.m., Saturday) Jason Brown breezed to the Illinois state tennis championship today with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Julian Childers of Marion Catholic in the title match helping Deerfield High School finish fifth in the team standings.
Before Brown could play for the crown, he had to win his semifinal match earlier today, 6-1, 6-4, over Martin Joyce of Hinsdale Central.
Brown displayed intense focus throughout both matches. In five games that reached deuce he won the next two points each time to win each game at critical stages of each contest.
“He has an unbelievable ability to focus,” Assistant Coach Ryan Johnstone said. Johnstone was at courtside for both matches. “He executed both game plans to perfection.”
In the semifinal, Brown was ahead 4-3 in the second set when Joyce had three break points. Brown rattled off five straight tallies to win the game for a 5-3 lead to take control of the match.
“I just told myself to go for it,” Brown said. “When you’re down love 40 I figured if I was going to lose I would give it all I had.”
Teammate Toby Ma, who fell to Childers in the quarterfinals Friday, won a match in the consolation bracket before dropping his next to finish tied for seventh.
Brown and Ma accounted for all the Warriors points and their fifth place finish. Hinsdale Central won the team title. Watch for a more detailed story Sunday on Patch.
(Earlier, 5:55 a.m. Saturday) Top seeded tennis sensation advanced to the semifinals of the State Tournament Friday with a pair of victories at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Brown faces Martin Joyce of Hinsdale Central at 9 a.m. today.
The Warriors other entry in the tourney, Toby Ma, reached Friday’s quarterfinals before falling into the consolation bracket. Deerfield is currently in eighth place in the team standings on the strength of the play of Brown and Ma.
Brown and Joyce have met twice before this season. In the first match, Joyce came out on top, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5. The next time Brown defeated the Hinsdale Central athlete, 6-2, 6-2.
“He has a big serve and forehand,” Brown said of Joyce. “I’ll have to take my chances when they present themselves.”
On Friday, Brown disposed of Gordon Zhang of Naperville North, 6-3, 6-1, in the quarterfinals to move into the semis for the second year in a row. .
“There were a lot of close games,” Brown said of his win over Zhang. “It was a lot closer than the score indicated.”
Brown was extended to three sets in his fourth-round contest against Sam Hoogland of Glenbrook South. After breezing to a 6-0 victory in the opening set, Hoogland took the second, 6-2, before Brown ended the match, 6-2, with a third set victory.
“I lost some focus and had to battle back,” Brown said. “I got it right when it was 3-2 in the third.” According to Warrior Coach Josh Leighton, Brown scored a critical point in the third set to change the direction of the match.
“Jason got a crucial game to go up 3-1 in the third and started playing,” Leighton said of the game that turned the match for Brown.
Ma dispatched Jeremy Dixon of Oak Park-River Forest, 6-2, 6-3, in the fourth round before he dropped his quarterfinal match to Julian Childers of Marian in Chicago Heights, 6-0, 6-0. He now plays in the consolation round with fifth place a possibility.