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Five local boys' tennis players advance at CIF Southern Section Individuals

Steven Ferry started cramping up midway through the second set Friday afternoon at Andulka Park Tennis Center, and there was reason for the Sage Hill School senior to be concerned.

Ferry lost the set to Jake Huarte of Mater Dei, and the third-round match of the CIF Southern Section Individuals boys’ tennis tournament quickly went to a third-set 10-point super-tiebreaker.

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Before that, Ferry’s mother, Kathy, gave Steven’s calves a good massage. Still, he appeared iffy to win.

“The first couple of points [of the super-tiebreaker] I thought my legs were going to be destroyed,” Steven Ferry said. “My thighs started cramping, not just my calves … and I was just trying to close out the points as quick as possible, just coming to the net or hitting big shots. Luckily he hit a lot of shots to the middle [of the court], so I had a little bit of time to rest in-between my shots.”

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The San Joaquin League champion Ferry somehow pulled out the 7-5, 3-6, 10-5 victory, moving on from the sectionals round of the Individuals tournament. He also had a 6-2, 6-2 second-round victory over Ethan Chen of Diamond Ranch after a first-round bye.

Ferry was one of five locals to advance from Riverside to either the round of 32 or round of 16. Both rounds will be contested Wednesday at Seal Beach Tennis Center, along with the quarterfinals.

Sage Hill's Emin Torlic focuses on the ball for a forehand return in a singles match during the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament at Andulka Park Tennis Center in Riverside on Friday.
Sage Hill's Emin Torlic focuses on the ball for a forehand return in a singles match during the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament at Andulka Park Tennis Center in Riverside on Friday. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

Sage Hill senior Emin Torlic easily won twice to advance, while Corona del Mar senior Kyle Pham also won twice to move on in singles, as did the Newport Harbor doubles team of senior Josh Watkins and sophomore Prescott Cook.

Torlic said he nearly didn’t even play CIF Individuals due to his four Advanced Placement tests. He had his statistics test on Thursday and didn’t even practice, but he got the job done. Following a first-round bye, he topped Simon Ludvigsson of Riverside Patriot 6-0, 6-0 before earning a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Cori Angeli of San Clemente.

Pham also had a bye and beat Danny Bohen of Redlands 6-0, 6-0 in the second round, but he had a tough third-round draw against Roshan Morey of Laguna Hills.

Morey led 6-3 in the first-set tiebreaker, but Pham saved the three set points and eventually won the tiebreaker 10-8 on a crosscourt return that Morey couldn’t handle. Pham scrambled throughout the match, playing defensive tennis and taking a 7-6, 3-1 lead before Morey retired.

“I just made it hard for him to try to finish the balls,” said Pham, the Surf League singles champion. “If he wanted to win the set, I had to make him play it out and make a good shot to win it. I wasn’t just going to bail out and let him take it.”

Corona del Mar's Kyle Pham strides to a forehand return in a singles match during the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament at Andulka Park Tennis Center in Riverside on Friday.
Corona del Mar's Kyle Pham strides to a forehand return in a singles match during the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament at Andulka Park Tennis Center in Riverside on Friday. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

Newport Harbor’s Watkins advanced to Seal Beach for the second straight year; last year he and graduate Andy Myers made the CIF Individuals doubles quarterfinals.

Watkins and Cook, the Wave League doubles champions, beat Andrew Song and Tyler Nguyen of Yorba Linda 6-3, 6-0 in the second round following a first-round bye. They fell behind 3-0 in the second set of their next match, but rallied for a 6-4, 7-5 win over Haden Breiter and Trevor Shafer of Tesoro to advance.

“We’re good friends,” Watkins said. “We’re really compatible. We get along great, and that really helps if you want to be a good doubles team.”

Sage Hill’s Robert Gerschultz and Adam Hung had a first-round doubles bye before beating Ronald Chen and Kaden Salvador of Walnut 6-2, 6-1 in the second round. Gerschultz and Hung lost to Spencer Cinco and Julian Sanseverino of San Juan Hills 7-5, 6-4 in the third round.

The Lightning’s Matthew Strok and Alan Wang beat Eric Liang and Ahren Van Zee of Walnut 6-1, 7-5 in the first round. Strok and Wang lost to Breiter and Shafer of Tesoro 7-5, 6-4 in the second round.

Newport Harbor's Josh Watkins gets to the ball for a forehand return in a doubles match with teammate Prescott Cook during the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament at Andulka Park Tennis Center in Riverside on Friday.
Newport Harbor's Josh Watkins gets to the ball for a forehand return in a doubles match with teammate Prescott Cook during the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament at Andulka Park Tennis Center in Riverside on Friday. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

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