Ben Hwang's senior season at Wharton began with the first loss of his high school career. It ended this week at the Class 4A tennis state finals at Sanlando Park with a string of sensational matches that left no doubt he was worthy of the title of champion.
A day after claiming the Class 4A team No. 1 singles crown, Hwang won the 4A overall singles title, fighting from behind Friday to beat 4A individual winner Gaston Murray of Park Vista 6-7 (7-4), 6-1, 7-6 (8-6).
It was Hwang's third three-set win of the week, and the second time in four singles matches he won after dropping the opening set.
But Hwang's comeback against Murray was his most remarkable. He was down 5-1 in the third set and overcame three match points to reach a match-deciding tiebreak, in which he also trailed 4-3.
That rally came a day after Hwang rebounded from being down 5-4 and 40-0 to win the opening set in his No. 1 singles team final win over Miami Palmetto's Jovan Parlic. Hwang, who will attend Johns Hopkins next year, also dropped the opening set of his first round match on Wednesday.
"He's such a tenacious young man," Wharton coach Glenn Alvarez said. "He probably spent about nine hours on the court this week. That was amazing."
It also marks the third time in as many years a Wharton player has won an overall singles title. Former Wildcats No. 1 Mike Alford, now playing at Florida, won back-to-back overall titles in 2009 and '10.
Also Friday, Plant’s Class 4A state champion No. 1 doubles team of Blair Martin and Carol Marie Fraley dropped a three-set match to Lake Mary’s Alexis Arunda and Alexa Ricci in the 4A overall doubles final 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-4.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)