ON HIS TOES: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Jack Ling hits a forehand last Monday in the state Group 3 semifinals at Mercer County Park. Freshman star Ling prevailed in his match at second singles, but PHS ended up falling 3-2 to Chatham to end the spring with a 17-1 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Jack Ling displayed a composure beyond his years as he battled at second singles for the Princeton High boys’ tennis team when it faced Chatham in the state Group 3 semifinals last Monday.
With the temperatures soaring into the 90s at the Mercer County Park complex, things looked bleak for freshman star Ling. After winning the first set 7-5 against Chatham’s Dennis Isak, Ling dropped the second set 6-4 and trailed 4-2 in the decisive 10-point super tie-break.
Unfazed, Ling kept in the moment. “I had given up three games in a row in the second set,” said Ling.
“I don’t really have much to lose now. I wasn’t really thinking at that point, I was just playing one point at a time.”
Winning eight of the next 10 points, Ling won the tiebreaker 10-6 and took the match, making the team score 2-2.
“I just put a string of points together, I got the momentum going,” said Ling. “I had my team cheering me so that really helped too. I had to finish the match out.”
The semi came down to third singles and PHS freshman Melvin Huang won the first set and took a 6-5 lead in the second but started having leg problems due to the heat. The set went to a tiebreaker and Huang’s leg gave way and he had to retire as the Tigers fell 3-2.
While the defeat was disappointing, Ling was proud of the fortitude that Huang displayed as he gamely tried to finish his match. more