BURBANK — Taking a break from taking part in team competition, a large group of area girls’ tennis players took to the courts to participate in the Pacific League Tournament.
Glendale, Crescenta Valley, Burbank, Burroughs and Hoover highs joined Arcadia and Pasadena in the two-day event, which began Monday at Burroughs.
It proved to be a productive day for a quartet of area athletes, who were victorious in the first two rounds to advance to the semifinals at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the same venue.
The Burbank doubles team of Kristina Kirakosyan and Johana Faraj, along with singles players Celine Khachiki of Glendale and Crescenta Valley’s Melissa Rosa Muradoglu, each advanced while also looking to win league titles for the first time.
As the No. 3 seed in doubles, Kirakosyan and Faraj opened with an 8-0 victory versus No. 13 Elena Markova and Shyla Summers of Crescenta Valley. The tandem then posted an 8-3 victory against No. 11 Sandy LeMay and Alice Weber of rival Burroughs.
Kirakosyan and Faraj spent the regular season participating in singles before being united in the tournament. Kirakosyan reached the semifinals last season in singles and Faraj will make her fourth straight doubles semifinals appearance.
“It’s definitely exciting to get back to the semifinals,” Faraj said. “We hit our volleys well and we’ll need to keep that up.
“It’s exciting to play with Kristina because she’s my most competitive partner. We’ll give it our all Wednesday.”
Kirakosyan and Faraj will take on No. 2 Angela Qiu and Sunny Ng of Arcadia in a semifinal match. The other semifinal doubles match will be No. 1 Michelle Deng and Lauren Ko of Arcadia against No. 4 Francesca Yao and Angel Pan of Arcadia.
Deng and Ko have teamed up to win two straight league and CIF championships.
In singles action, Khachiki and Muradoglu shined Monday.
Khachiki, the No. 4 seed who helped Glendale win the CIF Southern Section Division IV championship last season, began with an 8-0 victory over No. 13 Isabella Harris-Bermudez of Burroughs. Khachiki then registered an 8-5 win against No. 5 Victoria Borkowski of Crescenta Valley.
“It was fun out there today, especially after losing in the second round of the tournament last year,” Khachiki said. “I just stayed aggressive in both matches and it’s nice to be able to represent my school. I’ll just try to stay aggressive in the next round.”
Muradoglu, the No. 3 seed who helped Crescenta Valley reach the Division III championship match last season, opened with an 8-1 victory against No. 14 Lilyan Hawrylo of Burbank. Muradoglu followed up with an 8-4 win versus No. 6 Chloe Barberi of Arcadia.
“I’m in shape and I thought I played well in both matches,” Muradoglu said. “My shots were pretty consistent.
“I’ll look to keep that consistency going. I’m hoping for the best and we’ll see what happens.”
Khachiki will face off against top seed Rachelle Yang of Arcadia in a semifinal match. Yang has won two league titles in a row.
Muradoglu will take on No. 2 Christina Yao of Arcadia in the other semifinal match.
The championship matches in singles and doubles will take place following the conclusion of the semifinals contests.
Elsewhere in first-round singles action, Yang recorded an 8-0 win against No. 16 Elen Arakelyan of Hoover; Yao defeated No. 15 Anneke Pullen of Burbank, 8-1; Borkowski beat No. 12 Grace Hong of Arcadia, 8-2; No. 8 Melika Seyed Mohammad Lou of Crescenta Valley topped No. 9 Siya Joshi of Burbank, 8-5; Barberi beat No. 11 Teleya Blunt of Crescenta Valley, 8-6; and No. 7 Kristin Lee of Glendale defeated No. 10 Ani Azarian of Glendale, 8-2.
Also in the second round, Yang posted an 8-1 win against Seyed Mohammad Lou and Yao notched an 8-2 win versus Lee.
In other first-round doubles matches, Deng and Ko earned an 8-0 win over No. 16 Sophia Flippin and Amanda Hersh of Hoover; Qiu and Ng bested No. 15 Victoria Rosales and Ima Nooch La-Or of Pasadena, 8-0; Yao and Pan topped No. 13 Farah Eskender and Nataly Najaryan of Glendale, 8-0; No. 12 Michelle Dong and Jean Chen of Arcadia upset No. 5 Polin Crete and Anjana Saravanan of Crescenta Valley, 8-6; Lemay and Weber upended No. 6 Jinette Faraj and Ellie Sumera of Burbank, 9-7, after trailing, 3-0; No. 8 Karen Enriquez and Kienna Gueco of Glendale beat No. 9 Daisy Kim and Ester Chung of Burbank, 8-4; and No. 10 Sarine Auvazian and Leah Baghdassarian of Crescenta Valley defeated No. 7 Janet Louie and Nicole Avakian of Glendale, 8-3.