Hurry advances to final

NEWPORT BEACH — The international contingent at the 23rd annual The Tennis Club Junior Open Tournament continues to be very strong.

On Thursday morning, Costa Mesa resident Samantha Stalder played Vivian Lin of Hong Kong in a girls' 18 semifinal match.

On Friday morning, Corona del Mar resident Alastair Hurry will play Eddie Fernando of Mexico in the boys' 18 title match.

"It doesn't really matter that much to me [who I play]," Stalder said. "It's just nice sometimes to see new faces."

Hurry is a familiar face in the title match at the tournament better known as the "War by the Shore." He's the only local in a singles title match, and the No. 3 seed had to pull off an upset to get there. Hurry beat top-seeded Will Walker of Fullerton, 6-4, 6-4, in a semifinal match Thursday to advance to Friday's championship match against Fernando, at 9:30 a.m.

Stalder, the No. 3 seed, fell in the semifinals to unseeded Lin, 6-3, 6-0. No. 4-seeded Corona del Mar resident Grant McCabe lost in a boys' 12 semifinal match to top-seeded Julian LaFond of Irvine, 6-0, 6-1.

Hurry is into the title match at the War by the Shore for the third time. He won the 10s in 2006. Two years ago, he lost in the 14s title match.

"I love playing this tournament," said Hurry, who will be a junior at St. Margaret's Episcopal School. "It's like five minutes from my home."

He got off to quick starts in each set against Walker. In the second set, Hurry broke Walker's serve twice to take a 3-0 lead. Walker battled back to 3-3, but Hurry won three of the next four games to win the match.

Hurry said he got a little passive, and that he wasn't hitting the ball like he should. He will likely need to improve on that in Friday's match against Fernando, who has won back-to-back three-set matches to advance.

Hurry also has had a difficult road.

"I've had a lot of tough matches here," he said. "I had a three-setter in the quarters, then in the first round he retired at one-set all. It feels really good [to make the finals], but I'd obviously like to take it one step further [Friday]."

Stalder took a 2-0 lead against Lin, who is a top 17-year-old junior tennis player in her native Hong Kong but is playing in the United States for the first time. With Lin serving at 2-2, she was given a warning for the umpire for taking too much time while serving.

Lin was visibly upset. She also started playing a lot better after that.

"I was just picking up the ball, walking my normal pace," said Lin of the code violation, still upset after the match. "I wanted to fight. I wanted to win the match, so I was even more concentrated than before. I tried to calm down myself, and after a few games I [felt] better."

Stalder credited Lin for raising her level of play. Stalder, who will be a senior at Newport Harbor High, still is in the Chapman University Junior Open this weekend.

"That tournament continues Saturday," said Stalder, who is in both the singles and doubles semifinals at Chapman. "I'm seeded first in that tournament, so I'm really hoping I can win it."

Lin and Min-Chi Hsu also took out Stalder and her partner Brooke Briseno, 6-4, 6-0, in a girls' 18 doubles semifinal match on Friday. Hurry and his partner, Shane Cruz of Anaheim, fell to Billy Lee of Irvine and Ryan Teng of Tustin, 7-6, 6-7, 12-10, in a boys' 16 doubles semifinal.

At least one Newport Beach resident will play for a doubles title Friday, and it is Maxwell McKennon. McKennon and his partner, Brent Stein from Arizona, defeated Charles Keller of Laguna Beach and Jay Phansalkar of Newport Beach, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8, in a boys' 12 semifinal match Thursday. They will face Kyle Lok Yin Tang and Kun Teng Tche the championship match at 2 p.m. Friday.

Newport Beach resident Riley Gerdau and her partner, Taylor Fogarty of Coto de Caza, will be in a girls' 16 doubles semifinal on Friday at 2 p.m., with the final to immediately follow at 3:30. The semifinal match was postponed due to some late-afternoon rain at The Tennis Club.

Twitter: @mjszabo

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