Boys' Tennis: Duo moves ahead

Daily Pilot

SEAL BEACH — It was just after 2:30 p.m., too late for breakfast and pushing it for lunch.

Yet, for Corona del Mar High senior Ryan Peyton and junior Shane Korber, it was a great time for a "double bagel" at the Seal Beach Tennis Center.

Peyton and Korber didn't eat it. They produced it on the court, thrashing Benjamin Hammond and Matthew Ta of Capistrano Valley, 6-0, 6-0, to advance to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Individuals doubles tournament Friday afternoon.

The CdM duo is confident heading into today's semifinals at 11:30 a.m. The finals will follow.

"I feel like there's not one team that can just blow us away," Korber said. "We can hang with any of these teams, especially the way we're playing."

No. 3-seeded Peyton and Korber will face No. 7-seeded Jonathan Hammel and Curtis Wu, of Valencia of Placentia. Hammel and Wu scored a 7-6, 6-3 upset over No. 2-seeded Parker Kelley and Devon Sousa, the duo from Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach, in another quarterfinal match.

Peyton and Korber have good reason to feel confident. The two singles players during the year have been getting more and more comfortable as a doubles team, and it showed Friday. They blew past Hammond and Ta in just 33 minutes.

The lopsided nature of that match surprised CdM Coach Brian Ricker. But Ricker, who emphasizes doubles with the Sea Kings anyway, can see why the Villanova-bound Peyton and Korber have been a good pairing.

"I think the fact they do everything different causes trouble for opponents," Ricker said. "Ryan hits with almost no spin, and he's comfortable going down the line. If he has to, he can lob a little bit.

"And Shane has a big game, hitting forehands with a lot of topspin. His volleying has also really improved."

Peyton and Korber also got past a fairly tough round of 16 match earlier Friday, taking down the brother team of Devon and Kyle Barber of Atascadero, 6-4, 6-2.

The CdM duo was ahead 4-1 in the opening set, but Atascadero got back on serve at 5-4. However, a key break enabled the Sea Kings to take the first set and they cruised from there, breaking three more times in the second set by playing smart tennis.

"They were good, but they were a little inconsistent," Peyton said. "I knew if we played solid that they'd sort of crack eventually."

Korber's singles game has also been emerging, with his powerful game. Last weekend at a United States Tennis Assn. National Tournament in Surprise, Ariz., he beat his first top 100 player — Ashton Kalhorn of Colorado— and advanced to the boys' 18 singles quarterfinals.

Kalhorn is ranked No. 84 nationally.

"That was a big breakthrough for me," Korber said.

He'd love it if he and his partner can engineer a similar breakthrough today. They left Seal Beach on Friday not knowing who today's doubles opponent would be, but they do know they'll have to earn it.

"We're going to have to be on our game and ready to play," Peyton said.

The top-seeded team from University, Reo Asami and Ryan Cheung, will face T.J. Pura and Chris Lord of Brentwood in the other semifinal.

Asami and Cheung topped Peyton and Korber, 6-4, 6-2, to win the Pacific Coast League doubles title May 6.

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