Pulaski Academy's Foster Rogers imposed his will on hard-hitting Hayden Shoemake of Bentonville West on Tuesday afternoon at Burns Park in North Little Rock.
"He makes you play his way," Shoemake said, "and it's very frustrating."
At a glance
BOYS OVERALL TENNIS
at Burns Park, North Litlte Rock
Foster Rogers (Pulaski Academy) def. Keeton Dassinger (Episcopal Collegiate) 6-0, 6-2
Hayden Shoemake (Bentonville West) def. Jackson Davis (LR Catholic) 7-6, 6-4
Foster Rogers (Pulaski Academy) def. Hayden Shoemake (Bentonville West) 6-2, 6-3
Conor Clardy-Hayden Swope (Springdale Har-Ber) def. Evan Hurt-Jonathon Barber (Jonesboro) 6-0, 6-1
Phil Abston-Zandy Djurica (LR Central) def. Connor Elliott-Jack Lewis (Pulaski Academy) 6-4, 6-2
Phil Abston-Zandy Djurica (LR Central) def. Conor Clardy-Hayden Swope (Springdale Har-Ber) 4-6, 7-6, 7-6
Rogers, a University of Arkansas signee, defeated Shoemake 6-2, 6-3 to win the Arkansas Overall boys singles title for a third consecutive year.
Shoemake played strong early in each set, holding his serve to lead 2-1 in the first set and was tied 2-2 when he attempted an overhead slam after an extended rally with a chance to take the lead.Gallery: Arkansas Overall Tennis Finals
Shoemake's shot went long as he groaned "No!" Rogers won the next three games to take the set.
"I was holding serve until then," Shoemake said. "After I lost serve, I knew it was going to be hard to break him. He was serving well the whole time."
Rogers said Shoemake's missed slam was a swing in momentum.
"He was playing real tight with me," Rogers said. "It was tight the whole point, but that was a key point, and it kinda got me on a roll."
Shoemake, the Class 6A boys singles runner-up, defeated Little Rock Catholic's Jackson Davis 7-6, 6-4 during the morning semifinals, avenging a three-set loss to Davis last week in Springdale.
Rogers, the Class 4A singles champion, defeated Keeton Dassinger of Episcopal Collegiate 6-0, 6-2 in the other semifinal match.
Shoemake said he felt OK physically after the Davis match, but it did have an impact.
"Mentally, it did," Shoemake said.
Rogers swept through four rounds at the state tournament, and two in the Overall while losing a total of three games before his matchup with Shoemake. He said it allowed him to stay fresh both mentally and physically and play the kind of all-around game he has been coached to play by Travis Johnson at Chenal Country Club.
Rogers was so keen Tuesday that he sensed Shoemake's frustration on several occasions, and he said he knew that was when he had to kick into another gear.
"You've got to step on the gas," Rogers said. "You've got to go full throttle at that point. Not to criticize him or anything, but it gives you all the more motivation to put it away."
Rogers frustrated Shoemake with change-of-pace and precision shots to end several long rallies.
"He doesn't make mistakes, and he plays a weird game," Shoemake said. "He hits short, it slices, he's got good passing shots."
Even when Shoemake rallied from 2-0 down to tie it 2-2 in the second set, his momentum was stopped when Rogers broke Shoemake's serve with a wicked back-handed winner just inside the line.
Shoemake threw his hands in the air and shook his head in disbelief.
"After that, I was too frustrated to play [my best]," he said. "He was on. He felt it."
In the boys doubles final, Little Rock Central's Phil Abston and Zandy Djurica defeated Springdale Har-Ber's Conor Clardy and Hayden Swope 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 to avenge a 6-3, 7-5 defeat in the Class 6A state tournament.
The team of Phil Abston (left) and Zandy Djurica of Little Rock Central won the doubles title at the Overall state tennis tournament by beating Conor Clardy and Hayden Swope of Springdale Har-Ber 4-6, 7-6, 7-6.
Pulaski Academy’s Foster Rogers won his third consecutive state Overall singles title Tuesday with a victory over Hayden Shoemake of Bentonville West at the Burns Park Tennis Complex in North Little Rock. See more photos at arkansasonline.com/1023overalltennis/.
Sports on 10/23/2019
Print Headline: Rogers finds foe's breaking point