Purcifull, Gerdau into final

NEWPORT BEACH — Kenzie Purcifull and Riley Gerdau have no choice but to wear matching uniforms when playing doubles together during the high school girls' tennis season.

They did so voluntarily Thursday afternoon at The Tennis Club Junior Tournament, in peach-colored outfits with white skirts.

"We forgot our bows," Gerdau said, and Purcifull nodded.

"Tomorrow, tomorrow," Purcifull said.

The Corona del Mar High players do indeed have one last chance to completely accessorize their look. They're into the girls' 18 doubles final at the "War by the Shore" after defeating Jennifer Leong and Nicole Millado of Irvine, 6-0, 6-4, in a semifinal match.

Purcifull, an incoming senior at CdM, and Gerdau, an incoming junior, will play Ke Yu Jin of Hawaii and Yan Yin Lo of Hong Kong in the championship match at 3:30 p.m. Friday at The Tennis Club.

The other local in a doubles championship match is Newport Beach resident Nicole Knickerbocker. Knickerbocker and partner Michelle Hung of Irvine, the No. 2 seeds in the girls' 12s, got past Ashley Le and Melody Nguyen, 6-3, 6-3, in a semifinal match. Knickerbocker and Hung play another Asian tandem, Adithya Karunaratne and Wing Ka Lin, in the championship match at 2 p.m. Friday.

Purcifull and Gerdau, who played doubles together for CdM last season, had played Leong and Millado twice last fall in Pacific Coast League play, as they play for Woodbridge. Gerdau said the teams split their meetings last year in league.

Purcifull and Gerdau eased through the first set on Thursday. But things got more interesting in the second set against Leong and Millado, who had taken out two other CdM players, Kimmia Naaseh and Siena Sharf, in a close quarterfinal match the day before.

Thursday's second-set drama was hardly a surprise. In its quarterfinal match Wednesday, the CdM duo won the first set, 6-1, but ended up needing a super-tiebreaker win to advance. Purcifull called it, "kind of sketchy."

"That always happens to us," Gerdau said. "We win the first set easily and then get cocky."

Gerdau's serve was broken to start the second set, beginning a streak of four games in a row where the server was broken. Gerdau would eventually hold serve to give she and Purcifull a 5-4 edge, and they broke Millado's serve to end the match. Gerdau finished it off with an overhead winner.

Purcifull and Gerdau will probably have to play well to win the championship against their opponents.

But they'll definitely dress the part.

In another doubles semifinal match Thursday, Newport Beach residents Brooke Kenerson and Paige Kenerson fell to top-seeded Karley Borras of Santa Ana and Layla Rodriguez of Rancho Santa Margarita, 6-1, 6-2.

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