La Cañada's McKenzie reaches round of 20 at CIF tennis

Ally McKenzie was aware of the possibility she might compete against one of her close friends in the CIF Southern Section Individuals Tournament. She just wasn't sure when it might happen.

The La Cañada High junior singles tennis player has established a friendship with Westridge's Lena Tavetian, with the two often practicing at Flint Canyon Tennis Club. They discussed maybe meeting in the tournament.

It became a reality Monday, as the fourth-seeded McKenzie posted a 6-3, 6-2 victory against the fifth-seeded Tavetian in a round-of-40 match that took nearly two hours to complete at the Claremont Club.

"We were talking the other day about maybe going up against each other," said McKenzie, who won the Rio Hondo League singles championship Oct. 31 at Live Oak Park in Temple City and helped the Spartans take second in league before they advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2008. "We didn't think it would happen during the first day.

"She's a real good friend. The scores were a lot closer than they looked. The match could have gone either way."

McKenzie, who became the first Spartan to win a singles title since Kim Gilmour in 2001, will next take part in the round of 20. The CIF office will determine the top 20 seedings Wednesday. The top 12 will advance to the round of 16 on Dec. 4 at Seal Beach Tennis Center. The remaining eight will compete Dec. 3 at Whittier Narrows Tennis Center in South El Monte.

McKenzie had a first-round bye and then recorded a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Lolita Gordacheva of Beverly Hills.

"[Gordacheva] tried to overpower me and missed some shots," McKenzie said. "I also had some good serves."

La Cañada Coach Will Moravec said McKenzie received a stiff test from Tavetian, a La Cañada Flintridge resident.

"It was a good match and there were lots of good points," Moravec said. "Ally hit the ball a little bit harder and had a little better serve.

"Ally had the ability to attack a little more and that made a difference."

Tavetian opened with a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Myisha Edwards of Ridgecrest Burroughs and then registered a 6-0, 6-0 second-round victory versus Margeaux Craske-Curtain of Harvard-Westlake.

The quarterfinals will be Dec. 4 at Seal Beach Tennis Center. The semifinals and finals will take place Dec. 5 at Seal Beach.

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