PASADENA — Throughout the regular season, Emile Ohanyan proved he could compete with many of the best players in the Pacific League. Now, the Hoover High boys' tennis player is looking to do the same in the league tournament.
Ohanyan passed his first two tests Monday afternoon at Pasadena High, winning his first two sets to advance to the semifinals.
Ohanyan, the fourth seed, started off with a 6-1, 6-1 win against 13th seeded Charbel El Khouri of Pasadena and then netted a shortened 5-1 second-round win against fifth-seeded Michael Whelan of Burroughs. Whelan retired because of a wrist injury.
"He's just getting better and gaining a lot more confidence," said Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe, whose team placed fourth in league and will participate in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs next week. "He's a smart player who knows how to read his opponents and exploit their weaknesses."
Ohanyan, a sophomore, will meet top-seeded Garret Auproux of Burroughs in a semifinal match at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the same venue. Ohanyan was the lone local player to advance. Auproux, the reigning All-Area Boys' Singles Player of the Year, captured the league championship last season. Auproux swept his two sets, losing one game.
Two local doubles teams and three local singles players reached the second round.
In doubles, fourth-seeded Tim Chong and Patrick Meserkhani of Crescenta Valley registered a 6-1, 6-2 first-round win against 13th-seeded Alex Bychkoviak and Danny Kim of Hoover. Seventh-seeded Rene Glandian and Sam Sarian of Glendale earned a 6-4, 6-2 first-round victory against 10th-seeded George Duran and Jeron Norsworthy of Pasadena.
Unfortunately for both teams, they fell in the second round.
Chong and Meserkhani suffered a 6-3, 6-4 defeat against fifth-seeded Clayton Pauff and Keon Park of Burbank, while Glandian and Sarian were handed a 6-1, 6-1 defeat by second-seeded Travis Tu and Andrew You of Arcadia.
In singles, Oleg Simonyan of Hoover and Glendale's Arin Meserkhani and Mike Unanian reached the second round. The sixth-seeded Simonyan, a reigning All-Area honoree who reached the league final last season, began with a 6-0, 6-0 win against 11th-seeded Nawat Tokatly of Glendale. Meserkhani, a freshman, started off with a 7-5, 7-5 upset victory against seventh-seeded James Hong of Burbank. Unanian notched a 6-3, 6-3 first-round win against ninth-seeded Doil Kim of Crescenta Valley.
In the second round, Simonyan suffered a 6-4, 6-4 defeat against third-seeded Calvin Fox of Burroughs. Meserkhani fell, 6-3, 7-5, to second-seeded Albert Chen of Arcadia and Unanian was handed a 6-0, 6-1 loss by Auproux.
Glendale Coach Bob Davidson, whose team finished third in league and will also participate in the postseason, said Meserkhani proved to be a worthy challenger.
"I'm proud of him," Davidson said. "It's been a terrific experience for him and he took the No. 2 seed to the limit [in the second set]. A couple of breaks and maybe it's a different story. All year long, we've been waiting for him to step it up to this level and he did it [Monday]. This was definitely a breakthrough for him. This will help him believe he's as good as he is."