By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — There are two things that can happen in tennis when the first set is hotly contested and the combatants go into the second set.
The first thing is that the losers can dial it up just a bit and force a third set. The second is that disappointment and/or fatigue can set in and the point is decided in two sets.
In Thursday's Madison County semifinal, there was a lot of the latter and none of the former as Frankton rolled past Anderson 5-0 to advance to today's championship match at Pendleton Heights against the Arabians.
The formula that worked for the Eagles was in evidence at No. 1 doubles where the Indians team of Zack Abbott and Jason Kabir got off to a 4-1 and 5-2 lead on the Eagles' pairing of Blaine Reed and Cameron Bates.
"We just started kind of slow," said Reed. "After it was 2-5, we just kind of turned to each other and said, 'Let's go play.'"
"I think we were a bit mentally slow," said Bates. "We had to get the intensity up. We needed to play the way we know we can play."
The Frankton duo won the first set 7-6. "Then we said, 'How about 6-0 (for the second set)," said Reed. "We decided that sounded pretty good." That's exactly what happened in the second set.
The No. 2 doubles match was a different type of start but still close. The Frankton team of Jeff Biddle and Brady Ashton pulled away early and then had to fight off a determined challenge by Anderson's Eli Miller and Connor Hall before winning 7-5, 6-4.
At No. 2 singles, the Eagles' Aaron Korn had a tussle in set one with Nick Whitaker, winning 6-4, but then Korn found his rhythm and won the next set 6-0.
The battle between Frankton's Lucas Bolt and Anderson's Joe Moran was tight throughout. Bolt forged ahead at the end of the first set to win 7-5 and then the second set got even tighter. Bolt finally edged Morgan in a second-set tie-breaker 7-6 (10-8).
The one match that didn't fit the mold was at No. 3 singles where Conner Bates had little trouble with Anderson's Dax Swanson in winning the opening set 6-0. But Swanson rallied and forced a tie-breaker in the second before losing 7-6 (8-6).
"It was a good match at all five spots," said Anderson coach David Ellis. "They were very close and very competitive. The first set can make or break a match. We're still a predominantly a young team in terms of experience."
"I have such a tough minded group of players," said Frankton coach Brett Sanders. "I had all the faith in the world in them."
The Eagles now head into a rematch against Pendleton Heights.
"We beat them 4-1 a couple of Wednesdays ago," said Sanders. "They have a good team, a smart team and they are well coached." The match will start at 4:30 p.m.