Round of 16 unkind to locals

OJAI — The remaining Newport-Mesa representatives in the CIF divisions at the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament were cordial with each other Friday afternoon.

Corona del Mar High junior Alec Adamson, as well as the Sea Kings' senior doubles team of Alex Murray and Zach Williams, each won their first two matches. So did Sage Hill School senior Robbe Simon.

The four players ate lunch together at a local sandwich shop. CdM Coach Brian Ricker joked that the only reason Simon could eat with his players was because Sage Hill and CdM were done competing with each other this year.

Soon after lunch, all four players were also done competing in Ojai. Each lost in round of 16 matches at The Thacher School.

Simon fell to No. 4-seeded T.J. Pura of Brentwood, 6-1, 6-2. Adamson lost to Cristobal Rivera of Santa Monica, 7-6, 6-2.

Murray and Williams came the closest to advancing to Saturday morning's CIF doubles quarterfinals, but the San Marino duo of Robert Carter and Daniel Gealer beat them, 3-6, 6-3 and 10-7 in a third-set super-tiebreaker.

Ricker knows nothing is guaranteed at "The Ojai," the prestigious tournament celebrating its 112th year.

"Getting to the round of 16 for these kids is a good experience," Ricker said. "Of course, they would have liked to gone farther — and could have — but there were some very good players who went out in the first round of this tournament."

Two locals are still alive in the junior divisions. Newport Beach native Mazy Watrous earned a pair of 6-4, 6-1 victories to advance to the girls' 18 singles quarterfinals. No. 6-seeded Watrous will play No. 4-seeded Sophia Bott of San Clemente at 9 a.m. Saturday at Libbey Park South.

No. 3-seeded Corona del Mar High freshman Chaz Downing is also alive in the boys' 14 singles draw. He has a quarterfinal match against No. 9-seeded Beau Pelletier of Huntington Beach at 8 a.m. Saturday at Villanova Prep.

The finals for each of the non-CIF divisions are Sunday. Watrous and Downing would each have a maximum of two matches Saturday.

Orange Coast College men's tennis also has a doubles team in the community college division quarterfinals. The Pirates' No. 10-seeded Rex Miller and Pat Wright play No. 2-seeded Josh Banks and Parker Kelley of College of the Desert at 1 p.m. at Ojai Valley Athletic Club.

The OCC women's doubles team of Madelyn Koehly and Haley Moss is also in the quarterfinals. Koehly and Moss play Sophie Angner and Talia Hudson of Santa Barbara in a quarterfinal at 12:30 p.m., also at Ojai Valley Athletic Club.

The CIF divisions proved tough in the afternoon for the locals. CdM's Adamson had two set points on Rivera's serve in the first set, but his opponent rallied to take the set in a tiebreaker. Adamson broke Rivera's serve to start the second set, but the Boise State-bound Santa Monica senior took control.

"He just won the bigger points," said Adamson, who defeated Dominic Gareri of Point Loma and Gregory Wise of Thousand Oaks to advance to the round of 16. "I had a lot of break points, and he saved a lot of them. It could have gone either way. It doesn't always go your way."

Simon, the lone Sage Hill player to ever play in the CIF singles division in Ojai, bettered his result from last year. He took out William Halsted of Thacher before an impressive 6-3, 6-1 victory over league foe Ruthwick Pathireddy of Whitney.

Pura was too strong for Simon, who has been battling sickness all week. But Simon said he hopes the Lightning have a foundation for the future.

"I've said it over and over, I just love representing Sage," Simon said. "Any way I can do that positively, I'm thankful for that. I'm hoping that the round of 16, that's just the beginning for Sage tennis. We're going to get to the quarters, the semis. I think that A.G. has a lot to look forward to hopefully in the coming years."

Murray and Williams suffered just their second loss of the season against Santa Maria. They had little trouble before that, defeating a team from Bakersfield Christian, 6-1, 6-1, before blanking a team from Simi Valley, 6-0, 6-0.

"It was just really easy, then really hard," Williams said. "It was a tough situation."

The duo appeared to have the match under control after winning the first set, but the San Marino team had an answer.

"As they got tentative, [San Marino] just naturally got more aggressive," Ricker said. "They took over the net, and we were hitting softer shots. In general, I would say it was more them being aggressive. [Carter] definitely got right next to the net … and Gealer's just a solid doubles player."

Twitter: @mjszabo

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