COSTA MESA — The Radeva family plans to vacation this weekend, heading north to Discovery Bay.
As Bogie Radeva watched his daughter, Annie, play Thursday in the Costa Mesa Summer Junior Classic youth tennis tournament, he wondered if she was about to pack her bags and leave the tournament.
"Maybe she went on vacation already," Bogie said as Annie, the top seed in girls' 16 singles, dropped the second set to No. 5-seeded Rachel Kim of Orange.
Annie Radeva did not succumb, perhaps discovering something inside herself to post a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory in the semifinal match. The Costa Mesa resident, who will be a sophomore at Newport Harbor High, advanced to play No. 7-seeded Ana Luisa Perez Lopez of Mexico in the championship match at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Costa Mesa Tennis Center.
Three other locals fell in singles semifinal matches. Newport Beach resident Austin Di Giulio, who is 12 but is playing up in the boys' 16s, lost to Joachim Samson of the Philippines, 6-2, 6-1. Newport Beach resident Danielle Willson lost in a girls' 14 singles semifinal to top-seeded Isabella Oedekerk of San Juan Capistrano, 6-2, 6-1.
No. 3-seeded Max McKennon of Newport Beach battled but fell to top-seeded Ivan Smith of Chula Vista, 6-4, 7-5, in a boys' 12 semifinal.
Radeva's rally helped her advance to the title match. She'll need another big effort to beat Lopez, who won the girls' 16s title last week at the "War by the Shore."
"It feels good," she said of making the final. "I just need to think of it as another match."
Radeva regained her focus at the start of the third set against Kim, taking a 3-0 lead. That included a game in which Kim was ahead 40-love, yet Radeva rallied back to break her serve.
"I just knew I needed to stay mentally in it," Radeva said. "I need to pretend it's 0-0 and we're just starting, so I don't get too distracted with the score. [My dad] thinks I mentally check out of matches sometimes. I always have something to work on."
Annie Radeva took a 4-2 lead in the final set. Kim's service game went to five deuces but Radeva broke, allowing her to successfully serve for the match.
The result pleased the onlookers, including her father, Newport Harbor tennis alumna Alex Aiello and Annie's older sister Nelly, who plays for Vanderbilt.
"It means a lot [to have Nelly there]," Annie Radeva said. "When she's at college, she can't watch my matches. It means a lot that she's not at the beach right now, or hanging out with her friends. She'd rather come here and watch me. It puts a little bit of pressure on me, because she won everything when she was my age.
"I'm trying to impress her with my game," she added with a laugh, "so hopefully it's working."
Annie Radeva also advanced to the final in the girls' 16s doubles division with her teammate Nicole Yermanos of Encinitas.
Yermanos and Annie Radeva, the No. 2-seeded team, beat Katianna Chang and Alisa Takatori of Irvine, 7-5, 6-4. They will take on Tracy and Tammy Van of Garden Grove in the title match, Friday at 12:30 p.m.
The boys' 16s doubles championship match will feature local players. Newport Coast resident Max Pham and his partner Kenan Torlic, the No. 2-seeded team, will play against Corona del Mar High incoming sophomore Chaz Downing and his doubles partner Maxwell Cancilla of Huntington Beach Friday at noon.
Pham and Torlic defeated Isaac Chau of Laguna Niguel and Ho Tin Marco Leung of Hong Kong, 6-3, 7-6.
Downing and Cancilla advanced after the top-seeded team of Jordan Sadowsky of Rancho Santa Fe and Brandon Yang of San Diego withdrew because of an emergency.
Danielle Willson of Newport Beach and Katherine Nguyen of Westminster lost in a girls' 14s doubles semifinal to the top-seeded duo of Krstina Evloeva of Torrance and Emilia Gorczyca of Laguna Niguel, 7-5, 6-0.
Corona del Mar residents Paige Kenerson and Siena Sharf lost to No. 2 seeds Shreya and Shweta Kumar of Irvine, 6-4, 6-3, in the other semifinal.