During his first two seasons with the Burroughs High boys' tennis team, junior Garrett Auproux advanced to the Pacific League singles final both years.
As a freshman, he had to withdraw in the championship match, falling to teammate Robert Henry. However, Auproux came back with a vengeance last season, easily rolling to the singles title.
By doing well in Monday's league preliminaries at Pasadena High, Auproux will get the chance to vie for his second straight crown, as the semifinals and finals will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the same venue.
In a first-round match, No. 1-seeded Auproux defeated No. 16 Justin Chung of Crescenta Valley, 6-0, 6-0. In the second round, Auproux upended No. 8 Mike Unanian of Glendale, 6-0, 6-1. It was the first game the Indian has surrendered all season.
Auproux said doing well in the league tournament and advancing to the CIF Southern Section individuals is always a goal for him.
"I made it to CIF as a freshman and I also made it last season as a sophomore, and that was fun for me," said Auproux, who is ranked No. 2 in Southern California and No. 11 in the nation in his 16-year-old age group. "Hoping that I can get to the finals again, making it a third year would be great."
Auproux will take on No. 4 Emile Ohanyan of Hoover in a semifinal match.
"I just tried to play smart," Auproux said. "Some of the guys I go up against hit very hard but they're very inconsistent. I just try and play smart and just grind it out and have them make the mistakes. I don't want to make the mistakes and give them a chance to come back."
Auproux is coming off a successful week in which he advanced to the boys' singles quarterfinals of the 112th annual Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament. In his quarterfinal match, Auproux lost to Thomas Pura of Brentwood, 6-4, 6-3.
In the round of 16, Auproux downed Addison Appleby of La Jolla, 6-3, 6-3, beat Ryan Andreda of Visalia, 7-6, 6-2, in the round of 32 and got by Jake Douglas of Palos Verdes, 6-3, 7-5, in the round of 64.
Joining his Burroughs teammate on the other side of the singles semifinal bracket is Calvin Fox. At No. 3, Fox defeated No. 14 Dhruv Rastogi of Arcadia, 6-0, 6-0. He then beat No. 6 Oleg Simonyan of Hoover, 6-4, 6-4.
Fox will take on No. 2 Alex Chen of Arcadia.
Burroughs' Michael Whelan, at No. 5, got by No. 12 Anthony Hou of Arcadia, 6-2, 6-0. However, the Indian had to retire in the second round because of a wrist injury against Ohanyan.
Burbank will also be represented in Wednesday's competition, as juniors Keon Park and Clayton Pauff teamed up and advanced to the semifinals in doubles.
No. 5 Pauff and Park got by No. 12 Alex Karibyan and Yeprem Chavdarian of Hoover in the first round, 6-0, 6-2, before beating No. 4 Tim Chong and Patrick Meserkhani of Crescenta Valley, 6-3, 6-4.
"The two players do complement one another," Bulldogs Coach Loi Phan said. "Clayton is more of the kind of player who uses angles and will try and outsmart you and [Keon] is just more brutal, and he's going to hit it as hard as he can.
"They were down, 3-2, and, 3-5, [Monday], and they were able to battle their way back for the win."
Two Burroughs doubles squads also earned spots in the semifinals.
No. 1 Phillip Lam and Kevin Hoang defeated No. 16 Donovan Lieu and Guillaume Lam of Arcadia, 6-2, 6-3, in the first round and disposed of No. 8 Ryan Chuang and Tim Lin of Arcadia, 6-4, 6-4.
Wen Yao Lin and Sawyer Patterson, at No. 3, turned back No. 14 Mike Akopyan and Eddie No of Hoover, 6-1, 6-1, in the first round before earning a win against No. 6 Dustin Lieu and Eric Gao of Arcadia after Lieu injured his back and had to retire.
In one semifinal, Lam and Hoang will face Pauff and Park. In the other semifinal, Lin and Patterson will take on No. 2 Travis Tu and Andrew You of Arcadia.
In other doubles action, Tu and You got by No. 15 Jacob Kim and Zachary Maina of Burroughs, 6-0, 6-0.