City Individual Tennis Finals : Payes of Fairfax Wins Singles to Prevent Sweep by Palisades

Times Staff Writer

Giora Payes of Fairfax High School won his second straight City boys' individual tennis title Thursday with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Jon Kahn of Palisades at the Racquet Centre in Studio City.

Payes thus spoiled Palisades' hopes for a sweep of City tennis. Palisades won the 4-A team title Tuesday, and both teams in the doubles final were from Palisades.

In the doubles final, Anthony Tsunoda and Mason Harris defeated teammates Michael Dismukes and Shawn Helmig, 7-5, 6-2.

But Payes was in the spotlight Thursday, playing nearly flawless tennis in defeating Kahn.

Kahn came out hitting hard and deep, but Payes kept returning the shots until Kahn hit too deep. The result was several unforced errors by Kahn and an easy first-set win for Payes.

"I kept rallying him until he hit a short shot," Payes said. "I also tried to play his backhand because his forehand was so strong."

In the second set, Kahn regrouped and won the first two games, but then, leading, 40-0, in the third, he started hitting long again. By the time he recovered, Payes had won five straight games and led, 5-2.

"I was aggressive to take the first two games," Kahn said. "Then I started playing like I did in the first set."

Kahn rallied to win two more games but couldn't break Payes' serve, and Payes won the set, 6-4, and the match.

"He doesn't really have any weaknesses," Kahn said. "He took advantage of every mistake I made."

Payes' consecutive titles tie him with former Fairfax player Jeff Klaparda, who won in 1980 and '81. Klaparda later went on to help UCLA win a national title in 1984.

Payes, a junior, will have a chance next year to tie the City record of three straight titles set in 1972-74 by Bruce Manson of Grant.

The San Pedro High School tennis team, which won the City 3-A team title Tuesday, starts six sophomores, not six seniors, as was reported Tuesday.

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