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York’s Josh McFadden fell to eventual state champion Thomas Ducker of Blacksburg 6-1, 6-3 during the semifinal round of today’s Virginia High School League Group 3A Boys Tennis Championships.
McFadden’s first experience at states did not start ideally. He lost the opening set 6-1 to Ducker after being caught off guard by Ducker’s aggressiveness and quality of play near the net.
“He was very aggressive and finished a lot of points,” McFadden said of Ducker. “He’s a very solid player.”
The second set saw a much-improved McFadden who was putting together winning rallies and serving more consistently.
McFadden opened the second set by earning a hard-fought win in the first game, which seemed to catch Ducker and the Blacksburg coaches by surprise.
As the second set progressed, it became clear McFadden was getting more confident in his ability to play stroke for stroke with Ducker. The York junior began hitting harder shots and sustaining rallies against his Blacksburg opponent.
“I knew I had to be a little more aggressive than I was the first set,” McFadden said. “If I wasn’t, he was going to finish off the points easy. I had to keep him deep. I kept my shots deep, moved up a little bit and hit it harder when I could.”
McFadden split the next two games with Ducker, holding a 2-1 lead before things began to slowly unravel.
Ducker broke McFadden and took back-to-back games to reclaim a 3-2 lead before extending his lead en route to a 6-3 second-set victory.
Despite losing in his first state semifinals, McFadden kept an upbeat attitude after the match and even gave a prediction for next season.
“I’ll be back next year.”