By Alan Der OHANNESSIAN
The Falcons boys tennis continued their losing streak, bowing to Burbank 12-6 on Tuesday, March 8. Having lost two series in a row to Valencia and Hoover (see below for a recap of Hoover’s contest), the Falcons were trying to get in the winning column.
In boy’s singles, number one Chris Kim battled but lost to Burbank’s top player Clayton Pauff 4-6.
Kim got off to a good start as he held his serve despite a tight first game. Both players fought it out, relying on rallies, however Kim got the point after getting at deuce landing a 1-0 lead. Usually in tennis after getting to deuce (40-40), the player needs to win another point to win the game. However Kim wasn’t able to break Pauff’s serve in the next game as he leveled the match to one game apiece. Pauff was in a commanding position at 40-15 as another long rally alternating between forehand and backhand led to Kim to hit a wide forehand.
Kim did save one break as Clayton’s slice forehand went into the net in an attempt to change the pace of the shot. Unfortunately, on the next point, Clayton played a short angle backhand to approach the net taking Kim out of the court for an easy forehand volley.
Kim was again able to hold his serve in the next game. He got off to a fast start 40-0 thanks to unforced errors by Pauff. Despite Pauff’s effort to trim the lead, Kim was able to finish the game at 40-30 as Pauff hit a backhand into the net, giving Kim a 2-1 lead.
Although he had a chance to break Pauff’s serve, he came up short. At 15-30, Kim was two points away from a commanding 3-1 lead. However, he lost the next two points due to a string of errors.
Pauff then took control of the match as he attacked Kim’s backhand with short angles and moving him side to side with forehand and backhand ground strokes while Kim tried to limit it with top spin forehand rallies, his forte. Pauff’s strategy paid off as he broke Kim’s serve twice and held his own for a 5-2 lead, leaving him one game away from winning the match.
Undeterred, Kim battled back to cut the lead to a one game, 4-5.
Down 5-2 at deuce point, he fought a long rally alternating between forehand and backhand as Pauff finally struck a wide forehand for a 5-3 lead. At the same time, his father urged him from the outside to “Close out” the match.
In the next game, Pauff made a number of errors – all pretty common when a player is trying to close out a match, allowing Kim to cut the lead to 4-5. However, Pauff regrouped to break Kim’s serve for the third time, winning the match 6-4.
Kim said afterward that angle shots were one of Pauff’s strengths, adding that although he tried to counter with forehand topspin, playing it in the middle of the court to take the angle away from him, it was already too late into the match.
Recap of other matches on March 8:
In singles, both teams were nodded at four matches.
Despite losing his first match to Pauff, Kim won his next two matches against James Hong and Kevin- Lee, 6-3 and 6-0 respectively.
The Falcons Justin Chong won two out of his three matches, beating Hong and Lee with the same score 7-5 but lost to Pauff 6-2.
Falcon Ari Abrahamian lost to Pauff and Hong 6-0 and 6-4 respectively.
In doubles, the Falcons lost seven out of the nine matches.
Jeremy Cho and the Tim Chong duo, Falcons first doubles team, defeated Kevin and Kenneth Bañas 6-3. They also beat Tajh Bellow and the Jonathan Lee duo 6-0 before losing to the duo of Keon-Park and Arthur Kubco 6-4.
Falcons duo Daniel Suh and Justin Kim lost all of their matches beginning with the Bañas brothers 6-2. In their next two matches they fought hard but lost to Bello and Lee 7-5. In their final match against Park and Kubco they lost with the same score.
Falcons third team, featuring Greg Manouchehin and Pete Kars, lost to the Bañas brother 6-0. They rallied in the next match but ended up losing 7-5 to Bellow and Lee. Their performances dipped again in their final match, losing 6-1 to Lee and Kubco.
Head Coach Sarah Wiggins said that the teams need to learn how to “close out” matches because at one point they held the lead but lost 7-5 or 6-4.
She emphasized consistency and patience as the key to winning points and matches. She added that in their next series, she wanted the Falcons to make the opposing teams earn their wins by playing to their strengths and exploiting the opposition’s weaknesses.
The Falcons next play Burroughs High School on Thursday, March 10 at 3:30 p.m.
In its March 3 contest again Hoover High School, the Falcons lost 11-7. After getting crushed by Valencia 15-3 in their opening series, the Falcons were looking to regroup and get a win.
In singles, Falcon Chris Kim cruised past Ron Gladian, Hoover’s third best player, 6-1.
In the first game, Kim got himself to an early break at 15-40 thanks to a couple of forehand winners – a shot that the opposition can’t respond to – asserting his presence early in the match. Gladian saved one break when he played an approach shot to attack the net, limiting the option of his opposition. Kim opted for a topspin lob, however it landed just outside the baseline. On the next point, Kim broke Gladian’s serve when a forehand cross-court rally between both players resulted in Gladian committing an unforced error (an error that wasn’t cased by the opposition).
Kim was able to extend his lead to 2-0 in the second game, capitalizing on his serve.
He got off to a slow start at 15-30 when a forehand during a long rally aimed to the opposition’s backhand went into the net. However, he was able to win the next three points. During a rally, the ball touched the net dropping the ball in the middle of the court. Gladian tried to seize the opportunity and played a slice forehand down the line, forcing Kim to make a tough shot, as he was able to play cross-court backhand passing shot past Gladian as he looked helplessly at the ball. At 30-30, Gladian set an opportunity as he played a cross court short angle shot, opening the rest of the court for a winner, but his slice backhand winner went wide. At 40-30, Kim got the game when he ended a long rally with a forehand winner.
Gladian had no answer as Kim continued pushing.
Kim again got to an early break at 15-40 as he kept pounding on Gladian’s backhand with his topspin forehand resulting in an unforced error. On the next point, Kim got the game as Gladian again played a slice backhand on at short angle leaving open the rest of the court, but his straight forehand winner went wide.
It was the same story in the fourth game when Kim got a strong start on his serve at 40-15. In a repeated scenario, he finished the rally with a strong forehand winner down the line.
Gladian got a game back as he started playing to Kim’s backhand in the corner to trim the deficit 4-1.
However, Kim was too much as got the next two games to end the match.
After the match, Kim said that his main strategy was consistency, as it would give him a better chance of winning the match. He kept playing to his forehand as Gladian kept making errors. His main concern was his second serve, a big reason why he lost his first match against their number one Oleg Simonyan 6-2.
Quick recap of other matches:
In single matches, Oleg Simonyan proved why he’s their number one player as he beat Falcons best player, Kim, 6-2. Simonyan also beat Greg Markarian 6-2 as he dominated boy’s singles earning Hoover three easy points to put them in the lead from the start.
On the Falcons’ side, Justin Chung defeated Ron Gladian 6-4. However he lost in another match against Simonyan 6-2. He also lost to Hoover’s Edwin Mehranian 6-4. Mehranian also beat Greg Markarian of the Falcons 6-3.
Other than Kim, Justin Chang was the only other singles winner as he beat Gladian 6-4.
In doubles, the Falcons fared a bit better.
Tim Chong along with Jeremy Cho beat Alex Karibian and Yeprem Chavadarian 6-3.The same duo also beat Sage Berry and Emile Ohannian 7-5. However, Daniel Cho and Daniel Suhl lost to Alex Karibian and Yeprem Chavdarian 6-4. The same duo also lost to Sage Berry an Emille Ohannian 6-4. Other Falcons team including Allen Chang and James Ho also lost to the previous duo 6-1.
Overall, head Coach Sarah Wiggins said that despite the loss, there were a couple of close matches where they lost 6-4 in the doubles.
Her main concern was that the players in the doubles weren’t patient enough to set up for a winner.