Calabasas High sophomore Gary Sacks upset No. 2-seeded Irvine University senior Jack Li, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3, hanging on long enough to be the last man standing and advance to the semifinals of the Southern Section individual tournament with the dramatic victory Friday night at SeaCliff Country Club in Huntington Beach.
Limping around the court between points and lying on the ground to stretch between games in an effort to stave off leg cramps, Sacks rallied from 1-3 and 3-5 deficits in the first set. Though barely able to serve at one point, he converted two break points in the third set, when Li began to have leg cramps and fell to the ground while trying to make a return in the eighth game.
“I was just trying to get through it,” Sacks said. “I’m so sore and cramped right now.”
The struggles by both players were the result of nearly six hours of tennis. Sacks needed three sets to defeat Santa Margarita’s Matthew Ozurovich, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, and Li was challenged while beating Arcadia’s Mark Contreras, 6-4, 6-4, earlier in the day.
Sacks will face Fairmont Prep senior Chip Hand, who upset third-seeded Kevin McQuaid of Los Alamitos, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, in the semifinals as the tournament continues at 10:30 this morning. Top-seeded Jeffrey Das and Garrett Snyder, who is trying for a singles title to go with doubles titles won each of the last two years, will meet in the other semifinal.
Das, the Ojai tournament CIF Interscholastic division champion last month, beat Pasadena Poly’s Alex Krueger-Wyman, 6-3, 6-3, in the round of 16 and frequent hitting partner Jason Mossembekker of Camarillo by the same scores in the quarterfinals.
The top-seeded Harvard-Westlake doubles team of James Thayer and Sam Wagner will play Santa Barbara’s Chase Muller and Kerry Wheeler.
Foothill singles players Kyle Roybal and Morgan Surfas have combined in the postseason to form a successful doubles team. They also won two matches and will play Anaheim Canyon’s Scott Hohenstein and Ryan Sandburg, another team of singles players.
-- Lauren Peterson
UCLA-bound Dennis Keyes from Lake Balboa Birmingham and Washington-bound Clarence Simpson from Sylmar are the among the players participating in the San Fernando Valley all-star football game at 5 p.m. today at Birmingham.
Troy Thomas from Encino Crespi is coaching the West, with Anthony Harris from North Hollywood Campbell Hall coaching the East. A youth football game matching all-stars from the Valley Youth Conference against Orange County will take place at 2 p.m.