Poland’s Gardner tops JFK’s Abdul-Aal for district title

Staff report

It was a rematch that turned out very similar to the original meeting.

Poland’s Garrett Gardner defeated Jad Abdul-Aal of Warren JFK on Saturday in the championship match of the Division II boys tennis district at Canton.

Gardner, a junior, won a hard-fought 7-6 (4) first set over the Kennedy senior, then cruised in the second set, 6-0.

In the sectional final last weekend at Boardman, Gardner defeated Abdul-Aal 6-4, 6-0.

Both will advance to the state tournament Friday and Saturday at the Ohio State University varsity courts.

Lakeview’s Aaron Paczak also will advance after finishing fourth at Canton.

The Canfield doubles team of Nick Debiec and Will Brown, however, did not qualify for state.

The two, who won one match and lost their second on Thursday in the Division I district at Oberlin, lost again on Saturday 7-5, 6-1, to Austin Aten and Alan Du of Copley.

A victory would have put the Cardinals’ team in the fifth-place match and would have guaranteed a spot at state.

At Canton on Saturday, Gardner defeated Paczak 6-1, 6-3, in the semifinals and Abdul-Aal bested Weston Noall of Gilmour Academy, 7-5, 3-6, 6.2.

Noall then beat Paczak 7-6 (6), 7-5, in the third-place match.

Abdul-Aal qualified for the state tournament a year ago, losing his opening match, 6-4, 6-1 to Asher Hirsch from Cincinnati Country Day School.

Paczak also went to Columbus in 2012 as part of a doubles team with Zach McDevitt. They also lost their opening match.

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