Two local singles tennis players earn spots in league semifinals

PASADENA — For Burbank High freshman boys' tennis player Michael Kundibekian, Monday's Pacific League preliminaries was a new experience, and he didn't really know what to expect.

For Burroughs junior Sawyer Patterson, the first two rounds of the league tournament held no surprises, and he knew exactly what was in store after capturing the singles championship last season.

Although with different perspectives, Kundibekian and Patterson enjoyed similar success, as they both won their first two matches Monday at Pasadena High to earn themselves spots in the league singles semifinals. The players will take part in the semifinal round at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the same venue. The final will take place following the final-four competitions.

"Even though he's never played in this before, I thought he did a real good job," Burbank Coach Loi Phan said about Kundibekian, who garnered the No. 3 seed. "He had a good draw, and that helped him as well.

"Regardless of the draw, he played well in both of his matches. But now it's going to get even harder for him in the semifinals."

Kundibekian began his day by dominating his first-round challenger, No. 14 Armond Kirakosyan of Hoover. The Bulldogs freshman made quick work of his foe, taking his two sets by 6-0 scores.

In the second round, Kundibekian also breezed past his opponent, defeating No. 6 Anthony Hou of Arcadia, 6-0, 6-0.

"I didn't feel that much pressure today," Kundibekian said. "I don't think about losing or who I'm playing, I just go out and play. It was just a good experience being able to play against different kinds of players."

Kundibekian will likely have his hands full in his semifinal contest. The Bulldogs player will be going up against No. 2-seeded Emile Ohanyan of Hoover. Ohanyan, who had to go to a tie-breaker to beat Kundibekian in the two's second meeting during league team play, won his first-round contest by downing No. 15 Alex Zatikian of Glendale, 6-0, 6-1. He then punched his ticket to the semifinals by earning a 6-0, 6-0 win in the second round against Crescenta Valley' Ted Yang.

Patterson, the defending champion, also had a relatively easy day, dropping just one game in his two matches. Patterson began the tournament by defeating cross-town rival No. 16 Suran Metovosyan of Burbank, 6-0, 6-0, then dispatching No. 8 Jonathan Fink of Crescenta Valley, 6-0, 6-0.

Never one to look down on an opponent, Patterson said he tried to stay focused, although his competition might have been on the weaker side.

"No matter what, or who I might be facing, I just try to work on what I need to work on to hopefully get batter as a player," Patterson said. "I just want to play my game no matter who's on the other side of the net.

"I really want to get to CIF and do well in CIF, so I try and take every opponent seriously and I try and play as well as I can."

In his final-four match, Patterson will square off against No. 4 Hrant Agakhanyan of Hoover. Agakhanyan beat No. 6 George Hou of Arcadia in the first round, 6-0, 6-3, and upended No. 5 Albert Chtchyan of Crescenta Valley, 6-1, 6-1.

Patterson will be trying to win the fifth straight singles title by a Burroughs player, and the eighth straight by a Bulldogs or Indians athlete.

Although the local teams did well in singles in the tournament, the doubles squads from Burbank and Burroughs weren't able to get out of the first round. The Indians No. 11 team of Alex Park and Stephen Campbell lost to No. 6 Stanley Lim and Brian Kim, 6-2, 6-0, and Bulldogs No. 15 duo of Chris Westwood and Reeve Bruner were defeated by No. 2 Michael Akopians and Arin Meserkhani of Glendale, 6-0, 6-0.


Follow Jeff Tully on Twitter: @jefftsports.

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