Corona del Mar’s Trenton Rhodes matter-of-factly predicted last week that he and Brian Walden would win the individual doubles title that had eluded them the last two years. It seemed to be a brash but fairly harmless comment at the time, but it caught the eye of Sunny Hills’ Dave Robbins and Joseph Gilbert.

“We read where they said they were definitely going to win it,” Gilbert said. “With all these good players, there’s no way you can say that. That had us pumped up.”

Gilbert and Robbins used their extra adrenaline to pull off a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 upset of Rhodes and Walden, the second-seeded team, in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section boys’ individual tennis championships Friday at Seacliff Tennis Club.


Rhodes and Walden reached the individual doubles’ final as sophomores, but lost in the semifinals as juniors and the quarterfinals as seniors.

However, Gilbert, a freshman, and Robbins, a senior, began playing together only two weeks ago.

“We never experienced pressure with each other,” Robbins said.

You couldn’t tell. Gilbert and Robbins fell behind a set and 2-0 in the second before rallying. They also trailed, 5-4, in the third set, before winning the last three games.

Robbins and Gilbert, who play unseeded Jon Chang and Shep Smith from Carpinteria Cate in this morning’s semifinals, weren’t the only upset winners Friday.

Jed Weinstein and Beat Baudenbacher salvaged the day for Corona del Mar as they upset South Torrance’s Billy Liyao and Tim Zickuhu, the fourth-seeded team, to reach the semifinals. They will play top-seeded Nathan Jackmon and Jason Merrin of Santa Barbara in the other semifinal.

In singles play, Loara’s Cameran Lindee, seeded second, ended a rough year with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 loss to Santa Barbara’s Jimmy Walker in the round of 16. Lindee, a senior who has signed with UC Irvine, could not play in last month’s Ojai interscholastic singles tournament because he was not accompanied by an official from his school district.


“It just hasn’t been a good year,” he said. “I’m just glad I signed with a college.”

Lindee was serving at 5-5 in the third set, but two double faults helped give Walker a service break.

“My ground strokes were off and every serve hit the tape,” he said. “It just wasn’t there.”

It wasn’t there for Newport Harbor freshman Geoff Abrams either. He was beaten in the round of 16 by Glendale’s Chong Cho, 7-6, 6-1.

Abrams led, 5-4, in the first set before falling apart.

“I made a couple key mistakes (in the 10th game) and then I got a little tight,” Abrams said.

But mostly, Abrams said his mental game let him down.

“I just didn’t take the right approach,” he said. “I’ve been trying to work this out for 1 1/2 years. I can never seem to break through this wall.”

Abrams didn’t exactly lose to a slouch. Cho lost to Palos Verdes Peninsula’s Loren Peters, third-seeded and defending champion, in the quarterfinals, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6.


Ocean View junior Jakub Pietrowski took advantage of a kind draw to breeze into the semifinals with straight-set victories over Villa Park’s Jason DeVera and Walker.