Simonyan, Yacoubian fall at CIF Individuals Tournament

Oleg Simonyan arrived at Andulka Park Tennis Center in Riverside on Thursday ready to compete in the CIF Southern Section Individuals Tournament.

The Hoover High senior boys’ tennis player got to the venue around 10 a.m. and received a first-round bye. He then had to wait nearly three hours before stepping on to the court.

Simonyan couldn’t find a rhythm after the waiting session and saw his season conclude with a 6-2, 6-2 second-round loss to Justin Zhang of Crean Lutheran.

“Waiting around was very annoying,” said Simonyan, who finished runner-up in the Pacific League Tournament on May 1 and helped the Tornadoes advance to the Division I playoffs. “I finally got out there and my ground strokes weren’t working for me in the first set.

“We had some good volleys in the second set and I figured out my stroke game. I was up, 40-0, in the first game of the second set and lost. That got me down a little. It was a fun experience again and I felt like I played my best tennis over the last few weeks.”

Simonyan, who plans to attend Glendale Community College in the fall, fell in the second round in 2011.

Pasadena Armenian General Benevolent Union freshman Vahe Yacoubian made history in an opening-round match at Cate High in Carpinteria. The Glendale resident became his school’s first-ever tennis qualifier and tried to parlay that accomplishment into a first-round victory.

Despite a valiant effort, Yacoubian came up short, losing to Frontier League champion Spencer Ekola of Santa Barbara Bishop Diego, 6-1, 6-3.

“Around the second set, I think Vahe understood that he definitely needed to be more aggressive and he took on a different approach and challenged his opponent,” said Spartans Coach Maro Yacoubian, who is also Vahe’s mother. “His opponent was an excellent player and it was a great match.”

Unlike all the area’s other competitors, Yacoubian qualified to the individual tournament as a freelancer since Pasadena AGBU does not currently have a team.

Yacoubian played in tournaments, such as Ojai, and built up a credible body of work before being allowed to participate in the individual playoffs.

“It was really a great match and even some CIF officials noted that despite the score, it was really back-and-forth,” Maro Yacoubian said. “I’m proud of Vahe and can’t say I’m disappointed. He played really well and his opponent just made fewer mistakes.”

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