ASHLAND — Wil Cochrane's backhand was a liability, his serve shaky and his volley game erratic.

ASHLAND — Wil Cochrane's backhand was a liability, his serve shaky and his volley game erratic.

Yet, even after losing the first set and taking a service break in the first game of the second, he never felt threatened in the Big Al's men's open singles final.

"Physically I was very tired," Cochrane said, "but mentally I never thought I was going to lose. Ever."

Eventually, the Portland State-bound Phoenix High alum showed why.

Down in the dumps after an error-plagued opening set, Cochrane rediscovered his game just in time to salvage the second then completed the comeback with a strong finish for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 championship-clinching victory Sunday over John Dix of Ashland at Hunter Park.

The counterpunching Dix made it closer than expected considering Cochrane's across-the-board advantages, tying the second set at 4-4 and later fighting off four match points to get within 5-2 in the third. But the 34-year-old property management specialist eventually succumbed to a combination of his own fatigue and Cochrane's powerful groundstrokes.

Cochrane broke Dix's serve at love to clinch the match, securing his third service break of the final set when Dix netted an easy forehand. Cochrane celebrated with a fist-pump to the sky. It was his second straight Big Al's singles title after last year's three-set win over another Oregon prep standout, Matt Pronesti.

"It feels good," Cochrane said. "Nothing to take away from John, but I am a little bit disappointed. It was a rough go this morning but John played very well and he really made me hit balls, and I really struggled with that today. There are certain things I'm working on right now, like approach shots and stuff like that, and I'm hitting them the opposite way that I want to hit them. So I'm a little disappointed with that, but I found a way to win, and a win's a win."

The victory wrapped up a busy, tournament-a-week summer for the 2012 OSAA Class 4A/3A/2A/1A state champion. Dix, meanwhile, said he plays about two tournaments a year and is too busy with his job at CPM Real Estate Services to practice much, either. Still, his get-everything-back strategy mixed with the occasional pinpoint lob forced Cochrane to raise his level of play in order to avoid the upset.

"He's a superior player, there's no doubt about that," Dix said. "But I felt pretty happy with my performance. To get a set, I'm happy."

For a while, it looked like he would get a lot more than that.

Dix took advantage of back-to-back unforced errors by Cochrane to earn the first service break of the match and take a 3-1 lead in the first set, then held serve the rest of the way to take the opening set.

It didn't come easy. He fought off a break point in the second game, won another deuce game to take a 5-3 lead and served out at 40-30 when Cochrane's forehand approach shot sailed long.

Dix's momentum then carried over into the second set when he fought off two would-be putaway volleys by Cochrane, somehow deflecting the second down the line for a shocking winner and a quick service break.

"I tried to junk the ball a little more, because he hits such a pure shot I'm not going to overpower him," Dix said of his strategy. "He's got way more power than I do. I just kind of played a junk game and that seemed to work for a while in that first set. Obviously, it made him miss some shots that he probably wouldn't normally miss.

"I thought that was kind of the key, and then I just kind of ran out of steam at the end."

That started to happen late in the second set. With the set tied at 4-all and Cochrane serving at 30-15, he committed consecutive unforced errors, fluttering first a backhand then a forehand into the net to give Cochrane his first set point. Cochrane didn't waste the opportunity, slicing a backhand volley into the open court to cap a 13-stroke rally and force a third set.

The clutch finish to the second set seemed to bring out the best in Cochrane in the third. He lost just three points over the next five games to seize a commanding 5-0 lead.

Dix fought back from love-40 to stay alive and make it 5-1, then broke for a 5-2 deficit, but Cochrane answered with a break of his own to avoid any late-match drama.

"I think I just mentally found a way to relax, and that's pretty much what the rest of the match was after losing that first set — mentally, how do I relax?" Cochrane said. "Because you can't play tight, especially when (Dix's) giving you short balls, and he's making every one in. So I was just trying to relax and I knew if I could get him to the third (set) I could wear him out and get tired errors, which obviously I did and that made it a lot easier."

Big Al's Results

Men

Singles

Open —Wil Cochrane d. John Dix, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

4.5 — Skyler Boles d. John Rushing, 6-4, 6-3.

4.0 — David Margulies d. Jeremy Duval, 6-1, 6-2.

3.5 — Marc Harper d. Frank Cabezud, 7-5, 6-4.

3.0 — Mike Wolfe d. John Bergin, 7-5, 7-5.

Doubles

Open — Cochrane-Zaslow d. Rogers-Young, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

4.5 — Borg-Inn d. Boles-Montz, 6-1, 6-4.

4.0 — Chavez-Irvine d. Eubanks-Madayag, default.

3.5 — Heliker-Zipf d. Acheatel-Shaw, 6-7, 6-2, 7-5.

3.0 — Baker-Townsend d. Abrero-Montz, 6-1, 6-0.

Women

Singles

4.5 — Bethany Duval d. Laurel Brown, 6-3, 6-0.

4.0 — Victoria Nylund d. Nancy Jensen, 6-3, 6-2.

3.5 — Bari Frimkess d. Kristina Godnick, 7-5, 6-2.

3.0 — Michelle Dombek d. Kaylene Godnick, 6-4, 6-1.

Doubles

4.5 — Rogers-Yearsley d. Anderson-Hatch, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.

4.0 — Collins-Jensen d. Parker-Reid, 6-0, 6-4.

3.5 — Grossmann-Kennedy d. Davis-Finnegan, 6-4, 6-3.

3.0 — Deckwar-Patton d. Lovelady-Pischel, 6-1, 6-2.

Mixed Doubles

9.0 — Rogers-Rogers d. Duval-Duval, 6-2, 6-4.

8.0 — Jones-Kenyon d. Harper-Wilson, 6-0, 6-3.

7.0 — Wolfe-Wolfe d. Marcus-Marcus, 6-2, 6-0.

6.0 — Hatley-Hatley d. Gruber-Ryland-Nation, 6-2, 6-3.