Going for a repeat

NEWPORT BEACH — Shane Korber has already had a fun, if frantic, summer.

He went to the Bay Area for unofficial college visits to UC Berkeley and Stanford. He went to Pennsylvania for a United States Tennis Assn. Level 2 national tournament. On Friday, Korber leaves for Florida for the USTA Boys' 18s National Clay Court championships.

"I've been traveling all over the place," Korber said.

But back at home in Newport Beach, Korber is one of the boys' 18s singles favorites in the 21st annual The Tennis Club Junior Tournament. As such, he didn't disappoint Tuesday morning, breezing past fellow Newport Beach resident Jason Cernius, 6-2, 6-1, in the round of 32.

Korber beat his former high school teammate, Matt Fisher, 6-1, 6-0, in a round of 16 match later Tuesday.

Korber will face Kenny Gea of Irvine in a quarterfinal match today at 11 a.m.

Korber, who will be a senior at Corona del Mar High, is the No. 2 seed in boys' 18 singles; he won the title at the "War by the Shore" last year. Another former CdM teammate, Villanova-bound Ryan Peyton, is the top-seeded player.

"It's fun," said Korber, who advanced with Peyton to the CIF Individuals doubles final in late May. "I love playing in local tournaments, especially when there's little to no pressure. I mean, I pretty much know almost everyone here, and that makes it a fun social environment."

Korber has been having good results this summer. He beat Max Haskin of New York in a consolation match at the national tournament in Pennsylvania. Haskin is ranked No. 94 nationally; he's the second top-100 player that Korber has beat this year.

He had his way against Cernius, who will be a senior at Newport Harbor High. Cernius has been a doubles player for the Sailors, winning this year's Sunset League doubles title with teammate Troy Arnold. Cernius and Arnold are in the boys' 18 doubles draw here as well; their first match is at 3:30 p.m. today against a team from Corona.

Cernius, whose younger sister, Natalie, is an incoming freshman for Newport Harbor and in the girls' 16s singles and doubles draws here, said he actually prefers playing singles. But he tipped his cap to Korber after Tuesday's singles loss.

"The games were pretty tight," Cernius said. "I thought I played pretty well; he's just really tough. He's got that big forehand and big serve. It's hard to do much against him."

Cernius held serve the first time in the first set with an ace down the middle, but he was already behind, 3-1.

In the second set, Korber won the last five games to pull away again.

Korber isn't looking ahead, but he would love to repeat his championship. In the way might be top-seeded Peyton.

"It would be a battle," Korber said. "Neither of us would want to lose that, but it would be neat to have an all-CdM final."

The final is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday, but Korber said if he makes it he may look into getting it switched to later Thursday to accommodate his trip to Florida.

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