Jared Woodson admitted being a little nervous before the Boys 18 final against Matt Bishop on Saturday in the USTA Van Der Meer Academy Junior Classic at the Van Der Meer Tennis Center.
Whether or not nerves were a factor, the Hilton Head Prep junior was out of sorts, blasted by Bishop, 6-1, in the first set. Before the second set began, Woodson discarded the bright yellow do-rag he had been wearing.
"That means I'm down to business, Woodson said. "It's time to work."
And that's just what Woodson did, patiently fighting back to win in three sets, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 to claim the championship.
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"It was a hard-earned win, Woodson said. "I feel like I struggled and hung in there, and that's the reason why I won the match today."
Bishop, who moved from Maryland to train at the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy just four weeks ago, was in total control early and playing with visible emotion, shouting after points. He broke serve three times in the first set.
"He was a good attacker and he had a very big serve," Woodson said. "It caught me off guard a little bit."
"I started off really solid," Bishop said. "I really wasn't missing very many balls and my forehands were going where I wanted. I wasn't making too many unforced errors off my backhand, which is usually my problem. The first set, I played well. The second set, I started to break down, get a little tired."
In that second set, Woodson stopped trying to match Bishop's powerful forehand and was content to keep the ball in play and keep Bishop on the move.
"He started to pick up his game," Bishop said. "He stopped making a lot of mistakes. He started to serve better, and from there, he just moved me around, made me a little tired and kind of took over a little bit."
Woodson was the first to break serve in the second set, eight games in. And Woodson said that's when he knew he was going to win.
"I knew I was fit and I wasn't tired," Woodson said. "He was there the first and second sets, but I knew the third set I had, because I was more fit. He was tired in the third set."
"But in the beginning, he was a big threat. He had a full tank, he had emotion on his side and he was playing well. I had to get that second set, knowing I could pull it out in the third."
Bishop said the transition to training at Smith Stearns has been tough, going from playing about three hours a day at home to playing more than five here.
"It's just really straining, compared to what I was doing," Bishop said. "The first week I was always tired, I was trying to adjust and I was always taking naps on my down time. I've finally picked it up and I've been able to keep up with the days and not be as tired."
As Woodson, who trains at Van Der Meer Tennis Academy, celebrated with family and friends, he said he wasn't sure when he would see his next tournament action.
"Honestly, I'm really blessed," he said. "I thank God that I'm actually here."
VAN DER MEER ACADEMY JUNIOR CLASSIC
At Van Der Meer Tennis Center and Van Der Meer Shipyard Resort
Jared Woodson (3), Hilton Head Island d. Matthew Bishop (4), Hilton Head Island 1-6, 6-3, 6-3
Sean Sculley (4), Churchville, Md. d. Tristan Puehse, Hilton Head Island 7-5, 6-0
Alex Sklizovic (1), Aiken d. Will Danzell, Hilton Head Island 6-3, 6-3
Harrison Luba (1), Hilton Head Island d. Fisher Luba (2), Hilton Head Island 5-4(8), 5-3
Jade Lewis, Hilton Head Island d. Barbara Rodriguez (1), Hilton Head Island 6-4, 6-2
Kennedy Shaffer (2), Rossford, Ohio d. Carolina Lewis (3), Hilton Head Island 7-5, 6-3
Kennedy Shaffer (2), Rossford, Ohio d. Jade Lewis Hilton Head Island, 6-2, 6-2
Alexandra Burak (1), Hilton Head Island d. Valerie Droop (2), Hilton Head Island 6-1, 6-1
Catie Meighan (1), Bluffton d. Adelaide Lavery (4), Hilton Head Island 6-1, 6-2
Katie Rankin (2), Hilton Head Island d. Marium Raza (3), Savannah, Ga. 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Catie Meighan (1), Bluffton d. Katie Rankin (2), Hilton Head Island 6-3, 6-0
Natasha Puehse (2), Hilton Head Island d. Sara McClure (1), Bluffton 6-2, 6-2
Matthew Bishop/Jiri Honajzer d. Colby Burke/Perry Williams 8-4
James Bachety/Tim Becker d. John Page/Jared Woodson 8-2
Sean Sculley/Alexander Vanezis (1), d. Nic Puehse/Tristan Puehse 8-3
Sean Sculley/Alexander Vanezis (1) d. Mitchell Brockmann/Amit Kohli 8-3
Moses Hutchison/John Rutkowski (1) d. Thomas Jenkins/Alex Likins 8-5
James Craigie/Brendan Healey d. Conrad Alford/Stratton Pollitzer 8-2
Gabriel Lezcano/Thor Pullon d. William Alford/Alexander Ruckno 5-3, 5-3
Carolina Lewis/Jade Lewis (2) d. Barbara Rodriguez/Olga Zavarotnaya (1) 9-7
Ellie Czura/Samantha Schuster (1), d. Asha Colbert/Cailin Colbert (2) 8-1
Natasha Puehse/Marium Raza (2) d. Catie Meighan/Katie Rankin (1) 9-8(2)
Raluca Velcu/Sayda Hernandez d. Mary Grace Armistead/Mckenzie Daniel 8-3