Dave Barnes has been running the WPIAL tennis tournament for 22 years. Yesterday's Class AAA championship had him scratching his head.
"I can't recall any championship that equals this one," Barnes said.
Brandon Tung and Bo Wiegand, seniors and teammates at Shady Side Academy, waged a three-hour, one-minute drama at North Park yesterday that had to be decided by a third-set tiebreaker. Tung won the tiebreaker, 8-6, to win 0-6, 6-4, 7-6.
"Just the intensity of every point, I don't remember a match like that," Barnes said. "There was no timidness on any shot."
It was the third championship in four years for Tung and the second year in a row that he beat Wiegand in the title match.
"I love playing him. I just hate losing to him," Wiegand said.
Tung said, "Third-set tiebreakers are tough. You play so long and then just a few points here and there make the difference."
There isn't much difference between Tung and Wiegand when it comes to tennis. Wiegand is ranked second in the Middle States Association and Tung fourth. Tung will play next season at Princeton and Wiegand at Harvard. They train at the Oxford Club in Monroeville and are practice partners. They have split four meetings in 1999.
But Tung had the slight edge yesterday. He went ahead, 6-4, in the tiebreaker, only to see Wiegand come back with two points to tie. Wiegand then hit a shot into the net and hit long to give Tung the title.
"I popped a string when it was 4-6 in the tiebreaker," said Wiegand, who then changed rackets. "I was able to tie [the match] up, but I just didn't have confidence with the new racket."
Wiegand won the first set, 6-0, but Tung regrouped to win the second. Tung had a 5-2 lead in the third set before Wiegand came back to force the tiebreaker.
"After I lost the first set, I just said that I have to pretend it's a new match," Tung said. "The second and third sets, I cut down on my errors a lot more. I just tried to make him return a lot more."
In the Class AA championship, Pine-Richland freshman Brett Warren rolled to the championship with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Greensburg Central Catholic's Primo Bautista. Warren did not lose a game in four matches over the two-day tournament.
"I knew I had a good chance to win, but I didn't expect that," Warren said.
A tennis match has to have a winner and a loser.
Too bad that constant couldn't have been suspended for an afternoon. If two players ever deserved to be co-champions, they are Brandon Tung and Bo Wiegand.
The two Shady Side Academy seniors squared off in the WPIAL Class AAA championship match Friday afternoon at North Park. They exchanged powerful serves, fabulous forehands and blistering backhands for more than three hours.
In the end, Tung beat his friend, 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Rob Levine of Fox Chapel defeated Dan Singerman of Upper St. Clair in the consolation match, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5).
In the Class AA final, freshman Brett Warren of Pine-Richland beat Primo Bautista of Greensburg Central Catholic, 6-0, 6-0. Brandon Isariyawongse of Brownsville defeated John Brewton of Sewickley Academy in the consolation match, 6-4, 6-1.
The two finalists and the consolation winner in each class will represent the WPIAL at the PIAA tennis championships May 28-29 at Penn State. This is the first year the PIAA has used two classes in boys tennis, but it wasn't the first time Tung and Wiegand met in a WPIAL final.
They played for the title last season, with Tung winning, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. It also wasn't the first time this season they battled for more than three hours. Their challenge match to determine who would play No. 1 singles for Shady Side lasted 3 ½ hoursm, with Wiegand winning a third-set tie-breaker.
"I love playing him, I just don't like losing to him," Wiegand said. "He just seems to win all the big points."
Wiegand trailed 5-2 in the third set then won his serve and broke Tung to cut the margin to 5-4. Wiegand trailed 4-2 in the seven-point, win-by-two tie-breaker and rallied to tie the set 6-6. But then, he hit a forehand into the net and sent another shot long.
"I broke a string on my racket at 4-6," Wiegand said. "I managed to win the next two points, but I didn't have any confidence in the new racket I was using. But that's how it goes."
Wiegand, at No. 2 in his age group, is ranked ahead of Tung (No. 4) in the Middle States Tennis Association, which comprises Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They also are practice partners at the Racquet Club of Pittsburgh in Monroeville.
They know each other's game well. Perhaps too well. They have split four matches this year, with Tung winning the match for the Section 6 title last week.
In the match yesterday, Wiegand won 16 games, compared with 13 for Tung. Tung, however, walked away with his third WPIAL title. He also was the champion as a freshman.
"He played well, especially in the first set," Tung said. "After I lost it, I just told myself it was like a new match and I'd have to win two sets in a row. All I did was cut down on my errors."
Dave Barnes, the WPIAL tournament director who has been around high school tennis for more than 20 years, said the Tung-Wiegand meeting perhaps was the best championship match he has seen.
"We've never had a match like that with two ranked players," he said. "And we probably won't have another in the foreseeable future."
Wiegand and Tung could meet one more time this season - in the PIAA Class AAA final.
"I'd like that," Tung said. "Both of us getting to the final ... that would be OK with me."