Di Giulio bounced from Southern California Junior Sectionals

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — Joseph Di Giulio has won the 10-, 12- and 14-year-old singles divisions at the Southern California Junior Sectional Championships.

He will not be adding the 18-year-old division title to his trophy case.

The Newport Beach resident was upset in the round of 32 on Friday at Los Caballeros Racquet & Sports Club. Five days after turning 17, Di Giulio walked away visibly upset after losing, 6-3, 6-2, to Ernesto Escobedo, a 15-year-old from West Covina.

"I just had a bad day," Di Giulio said. "I couldn't get into his service game. He was holding serve really easy. He was winning every service point. I couldn't do anything."

The tables turned on Di Giulio in the second matchup against Escobedo since April.

The two met in the quarterfinals of the Easter Bowl in Rancho Mirage, where Di Giulio prevailed, 6-2, 6-3. Back then, he took advantage of an overly excited Escobedo.

Escobedo was ready for Di Giulio this time around. He qualified for the main draw by winning his three preliminary round matches, sweeping every game in two of them.

He finished Di Giulio in a hurry with a strong serve and big forehand. Di Giulio said this was probably the earliest he's ever been eliminated from the Southern California Junior Sectionals in any singles division.

One match is all he had.

"It was a bad performance," Di Giulio said.

He had been playing well, reaching the finals in singles play in two of his previous four tournaments.

In August, Di Giulio moved back home from Baco Raton, Fla., where he lived and trained at the United States Tennis Assn. High Performance Training facility for two years. He's happy to be on the West Coast again.

"It's a lot better here, family [is here] and I just like being at home more," said Di Giulio, adding that he was homesick. "You didn't really get to go home too often. I just got sick of Florida. The weather is brutal.

"I like being back a lot. I felt like I've improved a lot since [the move], beside the result today."


Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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