HYDE — On paper, St. Marys senior Jordan Romain and Punxsutawney junior Matt Blose were the prohibited favorites to navigate their way through the bracket on the opening day of the District 9 Class AA Singles Tournament Monday at Clearfield Area High School, and the duo didn’t disappoint.

Romain, the defending champion, didn’t drop a game while going 3-0 on the day to reach the finals. Blose found a little more resistance from his three opponents, losing a combined five games en route to setting up a showdown with Romain.

The duo will battle for the title today at 2 p.m. at Brockway High School.

Romain opened his day with a 10-0 win over Johnsonburg junior Henry Toncich in the first round, then upended Punxsy senior Adam Milliron by the same score in the quarterfinals. The Dutchman followed those victories with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Brockway senior Tyler Foradori, 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals.

“I think Jordan played well today, but there are a few things we can work,” said St. Marys coach Dave Lion. “The main thing about today was advancing and giving him the opportunity to repeat.

“Other than that, it was a good day for us. We got our younger kid (Zeph Woelfel) some match experience (in tournament) since he hasn’t been here before. That will be key for him and us with Jordan leaving at the end of this year.”

As for Blose, he started his day with a 10-1 victory against Clearfield senior Joe Schultz. Blose then had to battle his way past a pair of DuBois Central Catholic seniors in Alex Micknis and Markus Peterson.

Micknis, the Cardinals No. 2 player, gave Blose his closest match score-wise, with the Chuck coming away with a 10-3 win in their quarterfinal contest. Blose then upended Peterson, 6-0, 6-1 in the semis.

While Romain and Blose dominated their way to the championship match, the area trio of Peterson, Micknis and Foradori enjoy strong days of their own.

Peterson went 2-1 to become DCC’s first singles semifinals since Dave Gangewere in 2011. He earned the distinction with a pair of wins over Bradford players in the opening rounds.

He knocked off Owl sophomore Brent Kennedy, 10-5, in the first round before scoring a 10-6 win over Owl junior Mitch Forbes, 10-6 to reach the semis against Blose.

Micknis recorded a 10-2 victory against Brockway’s No. 1 player, sophomore Adam Sabatose, in the opening round before falling to Blose in the quarterfinals.

“Markus really had to battle to make it to the semifinals,” said DCC coach Andy Rice. “Both kids from Bradford made him work hard for every point. He didn’t have much left in the tank by the time he had to take the court against Blose.

“Alex has peaked at the right time. He’s playing his best tennis right now. He beat Sabatose after losing to him earlier in the season, and he got off to a great start against Blose.

“That match was 3-3 after 6 games, but Blose showed why he’s a finalist after that. Blose is very talented and hits the ball so hard and that makes him very difficult to compete with for an entire match. His power and consistency just wore out both of my players today.”

Like Peterson, Foradori put together a 2-1 day to reach the semifinals.

Foradori bested Elk County Catholic senior Anthony Pollick, 10-1. He then upended Johnsonburg senior Tyler Martonik, 10-3, in the quarterfinals before falling to Romain. Martonik was coming off a 10-5 win against St. Marys’ Woelfel in the first round.

The other first-round matches saw Milliron beat Clearfield senior Jason Bell, 10-1, and Forbes pull out a 10-7 win over ECC junior Charlie Bobby.

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