As Jeff Hersh and Kevin Manning walked off the clay court yesterday following their Mid-Atlantic Tennis Association singles championship, one could have sensed who had won without having viewed the match.
Manning was sweating profusely. Hersh appeared to be as dry as when he began the first set.
Indeed, Hersh kept Manning running along the base line, then consistently put away passing shots in a 6-3, 6-0 victory at Aspen Hill Racquet Club.
"He hit some winners, didn't he?" said Manning, wiping his face dry with a towel.
"Early on, I wasn't quite warmed up," said Hersh, 18, of Rockville, who is a sophomore at Duke and ranked 10th in the nation in the 18-year-old group. Midway through the first set, "I was getting in my forehand. Then I started getting confidence and I felt I could get a winner on the short ball."
It was not until the first set was tied at 3 that either player held serve. Hersh started cold, double-faulting twice in the first game as Manning, 27, of Arlington, took a 1-0 lead.
Hersh broke serve in the next game to tie, but Manning volleyed a passing attempt, then got an overhand winner on Hersh's return to break serve at 30 and go ahead, 2-1.
Manning capitalized on Hersh's mistakes and his own smartness to lead, 3-2. He got the final point after slapping a drop shot at the net right back at Hersh, who barely could get his racket on the ball.
But Hersh broke, then became the first player to hold serve.
After that, it was all downhill as Hersh won the next eight games.