Corona del Mar’s Niels Hoffmann advances to CIF Individuals boys’ tennis semifinals

Corona del Mar High junior Niels Hoffmann during the CIF Southern Section Individuals boys' tennis tournament.
Corona del Mar High junior Niels Hoffmann has advanced to the singles semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Individuals boys’ tennis tournament without dropping a set.
(Matt Szabo)

Corona del Mar High junior Niels Hoffmann is the top singles seed at the CIF Southern Section Individuals boys’ tennis tournament.

He is now two wins away from joining his older brother Bjorn, who won the singles title in 2016.

Brothers who each won CIF titles would be a definite rarity, but it’s one that would be special to the younger Hoffmann, who already was a CIF doubles finalist last year with teammate Jack Cross.

“It’d be supercool,” Niels said. “I mean, [don’t want to] count my chickens before they’re hatched ... but there would be some cool lore behind our plaques. We hang them up at home, so it would be cool if they were side-by-side.”

Niels appeared focused and relaxed Wednesday, as the tournament was pared down to the final four at Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont. The Surf League singles champion eased through his two matches.

He beat Amrith Kodumuri of Burbank 6-1, 6-1 in the round of 16, before dispatching Will Lokier of Palos Verdes 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

“It’s good,” Hoffmann said. “It’s good to stay focused against people that maybe you’re projected to win against. I feel like I did that, so it was a success.”

Corona del Mar High junior Jonathan Hinkel, left, and sophomore Roger Genc advanced to the doubles round of 16 on Tuesday.
Corona del Mar High junior Jonathan Hinkel, left, and sophomore Roger Genc advanced to the doubles round of 16 on Tuesday.
(Matt Szabo)

Hoffmann, the Ojai singles finalist, will play No. 4-seeded Avery Tallakson of Woodbridge in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Claremont. No. 2-seeded Sean Ferguson of Palos Verdes Peninsula will face David James Brownlee of Claremont in the other semifinal, with the title match to follow.

Hoffmann, a USC commit, has split two matches against Tallakson so far this season. He lost to Tallakson in a tiebreaker in a nonleague match at Woodbridge, but beat him 6-4, 3-0 (retired) in the semifinals of the CIF/USTA Southern California Regionals tournament last weekend.

“It was a great match, he came out firing,” Hoffmann said. “He’s definitely a formidable foe.”

Tallakson, bound for the University of New Mexico, denied an all-CdM semifinal by beating Cross 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

“I couldn’t get any rhythm because he was forcing so much,” Cross said. “I thought he actually played very well, and I just couldn’t get rhythm. He’s applying so much pressure, I feel like I have to come up with all of these shots. The times I got chances, I felt like I needed to win them … so it’s just tough with a lot of pressure.”

Cross had outlasted Caleb Settles of Claremont, 6-4, 7-6, in the round of 16.

CdM’s doubles team of junior Jonathan Hinkel and sophomore Roger Genc also won one match Tuesday. They beat Kayvon Kasravi and Ethan Nguyen of San Marino 6-1, 6-3 in the round of 32 before falling to No. 4-seeded Chris Koeberle and Kyle Shigekawa of Peninsula 6-2, 6-3 in the round of 16.

Hinkel and Genc couldn’t hold a 3-0 lead in the second set, losing to the Peninsula pairing for the third time this season.

“The third time’s the charm,” Hinkel said. “I thought we’d get them this time. Overall, I thought they just played a really good match. We could definitely clean up on some small things up at the net, and be a little bit more aggressive. But they’re a really good team.”

Hinkel and Genc barely won the Surf League title this year, saving five match points in a semifinal win over a team from Marina before rallying to beat Alan Ton and Colin Nguyen of Fountain Valley in the title match.

Still, they finished the season with a very solid 35-8 record, Genc said.

“We’ve had a lot of tight matches, and I think we were lucky to have them go our way,” Hinkel said. “We’re glad to be here.”

Ton and Nguyen fell in the CIF Individuals doubles round of 32 to Charlie and Joey Friedman of San Marcos, 6-4, 6-4.