NEWPORT BEACH — Alastair Hurry said he likes playing tennis in the heat.
The weather conditions Friday at The Tennis Club Newport Beach were far from that. It rained overnight on Thursday. Hurry was only able to get in a short warm-up with his friend, Newport Harbor High incoming sophomore Reese Stalder, before his boys' 16 singles championship match at the 23rd annual The Tennis Club Junior Open Tournament.
Hurry, a Corona del Mar resident and the No. 3 seed, started the match slow. He rallied but fell to No. 6-seeded Eddie Fernando of Puebla, Mexico, 6-1, 7-6 (7-0).
For the first time in recent memory, there was no local winner at the War by the Shore. Top-seeded Newport Beach resident Max McKennon and his partner Brent Stein of Arizona fell to Kyle Lok Yin Tang and Kun Teng Tche of Hong Kong, 6-2, 6-2, in the boys' 12 doubles championship match.
Incoming Corona del Mar High sophomores Riley Gerdau and Taylor Fogarty lost to Sarah Mae Garcia and Kyara Sutton of Irvine, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 8-10, in a girls' 16 doubles semifinal.
It was the second time in three years that Hurry fell to a player from Mexico at the War by the Shore. He lost to Patricio Zarazua two years ago in the boys' 14 final, also in straight sets.
The rain had stopped by mid-morning on Friday but Hurry, who will be a junior at St. Margaret's, still had trouble getting going.
"Terrible start," said Hurry, who won the boys' 10s title at the War by the Shore in 2006. "I couldn't have started any worse. I couldn't make a forehand."
After losing the first set, his serve was broken to start the second set. Hurry repeatedly whipped his towel into the courtside bench in frustration. But he rallied to get back on serve, forcing a tiebreaker.
"I kept fighting," Hurry said. "I knew eventually, his level had to drop a little, and I'd play a little better. I mean, I got back in the second set. I was two points away from winning it, twice. He didn't have an overpowering serve. I was in every one of his service games in the second set."
Fernando, playing in the United States for the first time, gave Hurry credit for raising his game. But the Mexican was on fire in the tiebreaker, not losing a point. Fernando is also in the semifinals of a tournament in La Canada on Saturday. Next week, he will be playing at the 19th annual Costa Mesa Summer Junior Classic.
"I got a little bit nervous, but he started to play good too," Fernando said. "I was tired, but I feel good."
Hurry said he'll be playing boys' 18 doubles with Stalder at the 41st annual Knowlwood Junior Tournament in Santa Barbara next week, a Level 4 tournament. Hurry then hopes to go to the zonal tournament in Utah later this month; he is currently the second alternate.
Max McKennon is a name to look for in the future. He just turned 10 in May but was playing up in the 12s in the War by the Shore. Despite his loss in the doubles title match, he said he learned a lot at the tournament.
McKennon, a left-handed player, will be a fifth-grader at Mariners Elementary. He met his doubles partner, Stein, because both train at the Dent Tennis Academy at The Tennis Club.
McKennon and Stein were closer in the title match than the 6-2, 6-2 score would indicate. In the second set, they were on serve at 1-2 before their serve was broken. Five of the last six games of the match went to deuce, and their opponents from Hong Kong won four of them.
"It's a good experience," said McKennon, who will be playing singles at the Costa Mesa tournament next week. "You learn something every match you play, win or lose … I don't really care [about playing up in the 12s]. As long as I'm getting matches in, I'm just getting better."