AUSTIN -- Frankie Colunga had more than an inkling there was going to be more to his Class 5A state final against Round Rock Westwood's Miguel Alda than his amazingly quick start.
There was too much history between the two players for the A&M Consolidated senior to believe jumping out to a 5-0 lead meant an easy victory.
"I knew it was going to be a tough match the whole time, even in the first set when I was up I knew it would be hard to close it out," Colunga said. "I knew when the second set would start that he was going to calm down and bounce back."
Bounce back Alda did, battling to a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Colunga on Tuesday at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center on the University of Texas campus.
The result reversed that of the Region II-5A final in which Colunga won 6-2, 7-6. Colunga's victory two weeks ago gave both players two wins against each other in the last year.
The two looked anything but evenly matched in the opening 30 minutes, with Colunga winning the first nine points and only losing six points in the first five games.
Colunga had Alda talking to himself. After one point late in the 5-0 run in which Colunga chased down everything hit at him, Alda muttered "All he does is run. He loves to run."
"The first set I was playing super solid and he wasn't playing well at all," said Colunga. "He had a lot of unforced errors. I really didn't have to work that hard for any games until the very end and then the second set the games started getting a lot longer and I knew that he had gotten some confidence back after he had broke me."
After losing the first game of the second set, Alda never trailed, although the two were tied at 3-3 and 4-4 after swapping breaks. Colunga broke at love to get to 3-3, showing the most emotion he had in the two-day event, by yelling out after a forehand winner.
"I just tried to focus on my game and neglect everything from the outside, the crowd, all my surroundings and just focus on the ball and do what I had to do," said Alda, who is heading to Columbia University in the fall. "In the second set I tried to pressure him a little more. I had to fight for every point, he's a good player and he runs down every ball, doesn't give up. He's a tough player to beat, so I just tried to work the ball."
Alda broke Colunga for the third time in the set to go up 5-4 and came back to square the match with a backhand winner and a service winner.
"I think it was one of those things because even in the first set when he was winning easily he still wasn't serving as big as he was at regionals," A&M Consolidated coach Stephen Mercer said. "He hit some really big clutch serves at regional that he didn't have today. We talked about the toss and things he could adjust during the match and he tried those adjustments and it just wasn't going today. The serve definitely played a big part because he won some easy points at regional that he didn't get today."
There were very few easy points in the third set with both players bringing out the best in each other.
Alda broke immediately and went up 2-0 only to see Colunga pull even. There were eight clean winners hit in the opening four games.
Two points later, though, there was a new twist, with Colunga pulling up in a point and just flailing away at a ball to end the rally.
"I asked him how he was feeling and he said he was starting to cramp in that one leg and we talked about it and said we will get some Pedialyte in you and drink some fluids there," Mercer said. "We didn't really talk about taking a timeout at that time because he was tightening up but he wasn't cramping to the point that he couldn't move entirely. After that he continued to tell me on changeovers he was tight and it was still an issue but he was playing through it and it didn't seem to be a problem."
Colunga went up 4-3, running down a ball and forcing an error at the net by Alda at 40-15 before winning the game with a rare service winner.
It turned out to be Colunga's last hurrah, with Alda holding serve for the first time since the second game of the set, he broke with a backhand passing shot before winning it with a serve after Colunga forced two deuces.
"It was a phenomenal year for him and he did better than even he would have thought as far as regionals," Mercer said. "I think he knew he had a shot to win regionals but the way that he did it I think he was overjoyed with that and we were thrilled. Here he played really well overall in both matches yesterday, taking care of business and today he came out really hot and played really well."
A disappointed Colunga, who will walk on at Texas A&M, was already looking ahead.
"It's good, second at state is not bad," Colunga said. "Hopefully I can do well at A&M now."
NOTES -- The stands at Penick were packed to watch the 10 state finals played on Tuesday. ... Alda and Colunga had their share of fans, with Colunga followers wearing shirts that read Team Frankie. Alda's fans were selling and wearing shirts that read Vamos Miguel. ... Three of the finals included doubles teams from the same school. Girls doubles and mixed doubles in Class 4A had a foursome of Highland Park players in each match and Class 5A boys doubles pitted two Houston Memorial teams against each other. ... Alda faced a match point against him in the quarterfinal and was pushed to 6-4, 7-5 in his semifinal, having to win the last couple of games in the evening after the second rain delay.