Nitros shuffle deck

NORTHWEST GLENDALE — As it got later in the afternoon, it appeared increasingly likely that the Pacific League boys’ tennis match between Glendale High and host Hoover would come down to a tiebreaker after an even split between the Nitros’ singles and the Tornadoes’ doubles.

Glendale’s No. 1 singles Ashot Papikian saved everyone the trouble of adding up games in which the Nitros would have come out on top anyway, by defeating Hoover No. 3 singles Alex Vartanian in the final set of the day.

That win, along with the success of Coach Bob Davidson’s strategic splitting up of his top duo of Jeff Asano and Elliot Kim to dominate the doubles bracket, resulted in a 10-8 win that kept the Nitros in fourth place in league.

“Everybody knew that their singles were dominant and our doubles were stronger than theirs and that’s kind of exactly what happened,” Davidson said. “Ashot played well in that set, but their singles just totally dominated us.”

Hoover’s No. 1 and No. 2 singles Ejmin Mehranian and Oleg Simonyan swept, 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, and 6-4, 6-4, 6-1, respectively, and Vartanian went 6-4, 6-1, before Papikian beat him, 6-2.

But with Glendale (6-8, 4-6 in league) sweeping doubles, there was no margin for error for Hoover’s singles, a problem that has hampered the Tornadoes (6-7, 2-6) often this year.

“Glendale’s doubles, the way [Davidson] split them up today made them really strong,” Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe said. “I can’t do that. I don’t have a top team that I can split up and help out two weaker guys.

“In doubles, we’re not as talented as the other teams in the league.”

Asano teamed with Sam Sarian to tear through Hoover’s doubles without dropping a game.

Kim and Rene Glandian partnered for a 6-0, 6-4, 6-2 line and Glendale’s No. 3 team of Alex Levin and Edgar Hakobyan swept, 6-0, 6-3, 6-3.

“I felt like that was our best chance of getting eight or nine [points] in doubles,” Davidson said of his decision to split up juniors Asano and Elliot, who advanced to the finals of the Pacific League Tournament for the first time last season. “Both played really well today, but it wasn’t just them, the other guys that played with them played really well, too.”


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