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Niels Hoffmann moves into round of 16 at Junior Sectionals

Niels Hoffmann of Newport Beach competes against Drew Abramowitz of Santa Clarita in a Junior Sectionals match Thursday at Marina High.
Niels Hoffmann of Newport Beach competes against Drew Abramowitz of Santa Clarita in a Junior Sectionals match Thursday at Marina High.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Niels Hoffmann, a 12-year-old from Newport Beach, plays a lot of tennis.

Still, Hoffmann experienced a first on Thursday afternoon at the Southern California Junior Sectionals tournament, and it had nothing to do with his own performance.

Hoffmann’s opponent in a boys’ 12 singles round of 32 match, Drew Abramowitz of Santa Clarita, was stung by a bee late in the first set at Marina High. Abramowitz said the bee was on his back, and when he tried to get it off, it stung him on the left hand.

Abramowitz continued, though he said his finger became swollen in the second set and hurt even more. Hoffmann just controlled what he could control. He wasn’t about to feel an even greater sting, the sting of defeat.

Hoffmann defeated Abramowitz, 6-1, 6-3, to advance. He will play No. 5-seeded Derek Shiffer of Bell Canyon in a boys’ 12s round of 16 match on Friday at 8 a.m. at Los Cab Sports Village in Fountain Valley.

Hoffmann’s mother, Biljana Longman, said she will try to get that match time moved back. Hoffmann is supposed to participate in his sixth-grade promotion at Eastbluff Elementary on Friday morning.

As far as his tennis, the younger brother of former Corona del Mar High tennis standout Bjorn Hoffmann feels that he’s playing well.

“I feel like this could be a big opportunity for my tennis and rankings,” Niels Hoffmann said. “To get far in sectionals is a big deal for the tennis community. Lately I’ve been losing to some high-ranked people … it’s just those matches where I’m just one foot behind.”

Hoffmann has lost in third-set tiebreakers to David Duong of Fountain Valley and Gray Kelley of Tarzana in recent tournaments. Duong is ranked No. 11 in Southern California in the 12s, while Kelley is No. 15. Hoffmann is No. 50.

Still, he is more serious about tennis than Bjorn was at this age. Longman, who is a former UC Irvine women’s tennis standout in her own right, said Niels is more passionate, where Bjorn is more laid back.

“He has the passion,” Longman said of Niels, the youngest of three children. “He wants to win. Niels can get very riled up.”

His serve was broken twice in the second set Thursday, but he came back for the straight-set win.

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Other locals also won main draw matches in action Thursday at the Junior Sectionals. In the girls’ 14s, top-seeded Calissa Dellabarca of Newport Coast defeated Elianna Hanna of La Cañada Flintridge, 6-1, 6-0. Dellabarca will play No. 9-seeded McKenna Chuddy of Rancho Santa Margarita in a round of 16 match Friday at 12:30 p.m. at Los Cab.

The other girls’ 14s winner was Mika Ikamori of Huntington Beach, the No. 9 seed who beat Caylie Cruz of La Jolla, 6-2, 6-4. Ikamori will play Kaila Barksdale of San Diego in the round of 16 on Friday at 12:30 at Los Cab.

In girls’ 18 singles, No. 9 Leyden Games of Newport Beach beat Yuka Perera of Santa Barbara, 6-4, 6-0. Games plays No. 2 Julia Haynes of San Diego in the round of 16 on Friday at 4 p.m. at Los Cab. Katherine Nguyen of Fountain Valley upset No. 9 Eryn Cayetano of Corona, 6-0, 6-3, and will play No. 5 Kimberly Hance of Torrance in the round of 16, also on Friday at 4 p.m. at Los Cab.

In the 16s, Kaytlin Taylor of Huntington Beach beat No. 9 Jenna Sabile of Fullerton, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. Taylor plays No. 5 Katherine Hui of San Diego in the round of 16 Friday at 2 p.m. at Los Cab.

In the 12s, No. 4 Jessica MacCallum of Newport Beach beat Claudia Grove of Los Angeles, 6-1, 6-1. MacCallum plays No. 9 Olivia Center of South Pasadena in the round of 16 Friday at 11 a.m. at Los Cab.

The boys’ 18s will feature an all-local matchup with Newport Beach’s Austin Di Giulio, the No. 3 seed, and No. 9 Andre Saleh of Newport Beach. They will meet in a round of 16 match Friday at 4 p.m. at Los Cab.

In the boys’ 14s, No. 4 Lawee Sherif of Huntington Beach beat Max Wuelfing of Manhattan Beach, 6-2, 6-4. Sherif plays No. 9 Jack Casey of Long Beach in the round of 16 Friday at 11 a.m. at Los Cab.

No. 9 David Duong of Fountain Valley beat Kai Beeler of Van Nuys 6-2, 6-0, in a boys’ 12 singles round of 32 match. Duong plays No. 4 Michael Severson of Coto de Caza in the round of 16 on Friday at 8 a.m. at Los Cab.

matthew.szabo@latimes.com

Twitter: @mjszabo


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