BETHANY BEACH — After fighting through a tough first set and cruising through a second, Milford junior Colt Williamson was able to retain his Henlopen Conference boys’ tennis championship on Saturday.
In his first match Saturday morning, Williamson faced Alden Tonkay of Smyrna, who was no match for the conference champ, who won both sets 6-0, 6-0.
“It feels good to get through and I had a pretty easy first match,” Willliamson said after defeating Tonkay. “I’m looking forward to playing Parker (Barton). It’s going to be fun because we’ve known each other forever and during the regular season, all our matches have been really close.”
Williamson’s opponent in the final, Parker Barton of Caesar Rodney, had a more difficult early match, facing Christian Anyanwu of Dover, but he ultimately won 6-4, 6-1.
The first set of the Williamson-Barton match was tight, with a total of six breaks of serve. The set mostly featured strong serving and heavy hitting from the baseline.
After 10 very competitive games, Williamson finally came out on top, taking the set 6-4 after breaking Barton at love. Williamson ended the set with a forehand cross court winner.
Coaches and fans were all expecting another entertaining and tight set to follow, but in the opening game, Barton was already showing signs of frustration, forcing him to forfeit a point for misconduct after beating his racquet on the net after making a volley error.
Despite being up the entire second set, Williamson was also aggravated after hitting several balls both long and wide, but continued to make winners and force errors to get himself out of tight spots.
Williamson had an opportunity to take the match on Barton’s serve in the sixth game, but he misjudged an overhead, hitting the ball into the net. After the error, Barton was able to get on the board for the first time in the set.
But Williamson came on strong in his service game, and was quickly given another match point opportunity and won the second set 6-1 after Barton hit a forehand wide.
“It feels good to be back winning the title again, because it shows that I’ve maintained my level of play since last year and maybe even gotten better,” Williamson said after the straight-set victory. “I went into the match like I have all of them in the tournament, worrying more about my opponent and how to beat them rather than defending my title.”
At the end of the match, the two shared a hug across the net before cooling down.
“I’ve been playing Colt for as long as I’ve been playing tennis, which has been since I was about five, and it’s always a good time,” Barton said.
“I think I played pretty well today but could feel when I went back on the court for the second match, I was still tired from the one before.”
Sophomore Halle Parker of Dover defended her girls’ title, winning easily 6-0, 6-1 victory over Seung Son of Indian River.
Parker beat Julia Balcerak of Polytech in her morning match, having plenty of time to rest her legs, while Son came into the final after defeating Katherine Clark of Smyrna in a long, drawn out three-setter. Son was visibly tired during the final but was still serving strongly.
That wasn’t enough to hold back Parker, who was using her all-court game to dictate most points, keeping Son on the run and frequently drawing her into the net.