COSTA MESA — Do not underestimate the power of a No. 1 seeding in a junior tennis tournament.
Last year at the Costa Mesa Summer Junior Classic, Costa Mesa resident Annie Radeva lost in her first girls' 16 singles match to top-seeded Danielle Pham of Irvine.
Back with more experience, Radeva is now the top seed in the 16s this year at the tournament. She said she knows that puts a proverbial target on her back, but she doesn't seem to mind.
"I don't think it's pressure," Radeva said. "I think it gives me a little bit more confidence. I mean, I've always been intimidated when I played the No. 1 seed, so maybe people are intimidated when they see they play me ... It's cool coming back the year after and actually being the [No.] 1 seed."
If her opponents do feel intimidated, it may be for good reason. Radeva breezed through her first match of the tournament Monday afternoon, blanking Madeline Loomis of Aliso Viejo, 6-0, 6-0, in a round of 32 match at Costa Mesa Tennis Center.
Radeva, who will be a sophomore at Newport Harbor High but is not playing for the Sailors this upcoming season, will play Alexis Coglitore of Ladera Ranch in a round of 16 match on Wednesday. Radeva and Nicole Yermanos of Encinitas are also the No. 2 seeds in the girls' 16 doubles draw, in which they'll play Rebecca Chou of Aliso Viejo and Gressa Sempre of Laguna Niguel in a quarterfinal at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Radeva has been steadily improving. She has bettered her girls' 16s Southern California ranking from 91 to 66 in the most recent update. Earlier this month, she won four straight matches in the back draw to get to the consolation quarterfinals of a United States Tennis Assn. regional tournament in Irvine.
"Yeah, I'm happy," Radeva said. "I still have a lot more to work on. I think I can get [my ranking] up even more by the end of summer; that's my goal."
Radeva's parents, Bogie and Diana, watched their daughter's match on Monday. Both are former world-class athletes in kayaking; Bogie was a five-time Bulgarian national champion and Diana won two medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Diana said before the match that she was a bit nervous, because Annie recently switched racquets from Prince to Yonex. She also watched a match on an adjacent court, where No. 8-seeded Barbara Mancera of Mexico was playing a match. Mancera is a possible quarterfinal opponent.
"You never know," Diana Radeva said.
But it soon became clear that Annie was up to the challenge. She had few problems in the 52-minute match, but she still came up with ways to challenge herself.
"I thought I played pretty well," said Annie Radeva, whose older sister, Nelly, plays at Vanderbilt University. "I mean, I tried to work on a few things during the match. It was pretty, I don't want to say easy, but I was up. I just tried a few new things. A few points I tried to serve and volley, and just coming in to the net more and working on my net game."
In other action Monday at the Costa Mesa Summer Junior Classic:
Incoming Corona del Mar High freshman Bjorn Hoffmann defeated Cameron Peres of Michigan, 6-0, 6-0, in a boys' 16 singles round of 64 match. Hoffmann faces. No. 4-seeded Remus Risnoveanu of Anaheim at 8 a.m. Tuesday in the round of 32.
Recent Newport Harbor High graduate Christina Young, as well as incoming CdM junior Lauren Thaxter, each won in girls' 18 singles. Young, who beat Madison Crawford of Rancho Santa Margarita, 6-3, 6-1, will face No. 5-seeded Brianna Kemp of Rancho Palos Verdes in a round of 16 match Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Thaxter, who defeated Jessica Rosansky of Laguna Niguel, 6-0, 6-1, in her round of 32 match, has a round of 16 match at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Corona del Mar resident Siena Sharf and Newport Beach resident Danielle Willson each won in girls' 14 singles. Sharf defeated Ariel Eisenberg of New York, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, and will play No. 7-seeded Nicole Mossmer of La Jolla in the round of 16 on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Willson defeated Katy Rabin of New York, 6-3, 6-1, and will play No. 3-seeded Shuchen Lin of Irvine in a round of 16 match at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Other local players who begin Tuesday include Michael Karamardian and Max Pham (boys' 18s), Austin Di Giulio (boys' 16s), Gavin Leonard, Jacob Holiday, Erin O'Connor and Oliver Kim (boys' 14s) and No. 3-seeded Max McKennon (boys' 12s).
Doubles play also begins Tuesday.