Alexander City, AL—Blake Brown employed his deadly drop shot to reach the singles final in No. 1 singles play, and the newly-formed doubles tandem of Dominique Ingram and Linus McFarland barely survived against a Gadsden State duo to advance to the No. 3 doubles final.
Brown got off to a slow start against Coastal Alabama-South's Jacob Stokes, losing the first set in lickety-split fashion, 3-6. Down but not out, Brown fought his way back into the match despite a gnawing shoulder injury which hampered his service motion and slowed his ground strokes to a crawl.
"Blake has exquisite touch," said coach Charles Wright, "but he never likes to use it that much. He prefers to pound the ball into submission. With his shoulder acting up like it was, he had to resort to hitting defter, softer shots. If I could hit a drop shot like his, I would incorporate it in every single game that I played. He finally had to fall back on his drop shot today. And it worked. His opponent was winded after trying to chase down a few of those beauties. Blake was hitting his drop shots a foot or less beyond the net. After a while, his opponent didn't even bother to go after them."
Blake went on to defeat Stokes, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
In addition to Brown, Dominique Ingram and Linus McFarland scored a closely-contested 8-6 win to advance to the final match at No. 3 doubles. In a back-and-forth affair, Ingram and McFarland pulled even at six games apiece. With a break point in hand for the MMI duo, a Gadsden State player fell victim to a nose bleed. Play was suspended for over fifteen minutes. When play resumed, Gadsden State pulled the game back to deuce in short order.