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The Salem junior's rivalry with Hidden Valley's Tim Roehr ended with another Drougas victory.
CHAD PARRIES | Special to The Roanoke Times
Salem’s Michael Drougas will play in the VHSL Group AA semifinals June 6.
Friday, May 31, 2013
This time, Hidden Valley’s Tim Roehr wore a hat.
For the third time, Salem’s Michael Drougas wore a crown.
Drougas notched his third 2013 victory over Roehr on Thursday, adding the Region IV boys singles championship to the River Ridge District tournament and regular-season titles with a 6-3, 6-3 victory at River’s Edge.
The River Ridge rivals split sets in their previous two encounters, highlighted by Drougas’ recovery from match point in the district tournament.
Despite the score Thursday, the third meeting was not easy for the undefeated Salem junior.
“We had a lot of long rallies and close games,” Drougas said. “I was fortunate in winning a majority of those deuce games. It was very tough and exhausting.
“All these matches could have gone either way. He’s a tough matchup for me, so I feel very relieved to not have to meet him again.”
Drougas (18-0) will advance to the VHSL Group AA semifinals June 6 at Radford University where he will face Region III champion Thacher Jennings of E.C. Glass.
Roehr, a German exchange student, still has at least two matches remaining for Hidden Valley before he returns overseas next month.
The Titans will play Region III runner-up Spotswood in a team quarterfinal Monday at Roanoke College. Roehr and Hidden Valley teammate Grant Brown will play in the Group AA doubles semifinals after defeating Drougas and Goran Vukovic 6-2, 6-4 in the regional final Thursday.
Roehr said he had his eye all along on the doubles final, which was played after his loss to Drougas in singles.
“I like doubles too much to fight myself dead in singles,” Roehr said. “My goal when I got up in the morning was winning doubles.”
Roehr, who struggled in the heat two weeks ago in the River Ridge final, was in better shape Thursday. He wore a hat to guard against a blazing sun, and he took extra time to towel off between points.
It was not enough to overcome Drougas, whose baseline game showed very few cracks.
Roehr broke serve to start the second set, but Drougas immediately broke back and seized command.
“He’s a pretty good tennis player,” Roehr said. “That was a great match today. I had fun playing. Drougas did a great job today. He earned this regional title and will have some good matches at the state.”
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Roehr chose not to go for heavy first serves, preferring to save energy with higher-percentage topspin deliveries.
“Last time I was making strong first serves,” Roehr said. “This time, I thought I might just save it for later. To make an effective serve against Drougas, it must be really strong, and I’m not in the condition to make it through three sets.
“One thing I’m not pleased with today was my returning. I was not aggressive enough.”
Roehr pounced on some soft serves by Drougas, but he could not consistently put the Salem player in trouble.
“All three times we’ve played he hasn’t attacked much, and when he has it’s told me he’s getting a little tired,” Drougas said.
Drougas, who played No. 4 singles on Salem’s 2011 Group AA championship team, can rest up until his semifinal match next week. He’s not sure if he wants a scouting report on his prospective opponents.
“I’m just going to go into it thinking they’re going to be great players, and I’m going to have to play as well as I can to get a state title,” he said.
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