But down 2-1 in the third, Cassis had one more rally, claiming three of the next four games to grab an edge at 4-3 and put Walker on the brink.
Despite being on the ropes, Walker said he never wavered.
"I was confident in my serve," said Walker, a Huntington native. "There were times where I thought, 'He's going to pick it up, he's going to play like Mark always does and not miss balls.' But I just came up with better shots at the end and closed it out."
Indeed, the bottom fell out for Cassis as he made a handful of unforced errors and seemed to fall victim to the fatigue that comes with chasing Walker's scattered, scorching serve across the court all evening.
When Walker ripped his match-point serve beautifully to the back corner, Cassis didn't make any movement except toward the net for a handshake.
"It's ridiculous," Cassis said. "You have no idea where it's going and it kicks up so high. It's impossible to get on offense with his serve."
Kent will be left to deal with that serve on Saturday, though it's nothing he hasn't seen before.
Walker, a player Kent talked into playing in the Public Courts tournament years ago, owns a pair of wins over Kent in the finals, in 2006 and 2009.
However a record eighth men's open title for Kent on Saturday would surely go a long way toward easing the pain of those previous losses.
"He's going for eight, so we're going to leave it all out there, we're going to give it all we've got, and whoever comes out on top, comes out on top," Walker said. "We'll both be happy either way."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.