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SOUTHERN SECTION BOYS' TENNIS INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS : Pietrowski Quickly Makes His Way to Singles Title

May 29, 1994|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

HUNTINGTON BEACH — There was no stopping Ocean View's Jakub Pietrowski from winning the Southern Section individual singles title Saturday.

Not Geoff Abrams, a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Newport Harbor who had a high national ranking and a bullet serve. Not Sandy Gentile, a 6-5 senior from Temple City who had long arms and a big net game.

The cool and steady Pietrowski wasn't bothered by either player's imposing frame as he ran them around center court at Seacliff Tennis Club in the same way his favorite basketball team, the Golden State Warriors, might have run a lumbering team into the ground.

Pietrowski, seeded second, needed only an hour to beat the third-seeded Abrams, 6-1, 6-3, in the semifinals and just a little more than an hour to finish off Gentile, fourth-seeded, in the finals, 6-2, 6-4.

Last year, Pietrowski reached the semifinals, where he lost to Palos Verdes Peninsula's Loren Peters.

"This is a great feeling," he said. "I was real hungry for it this year."

Gentile and Abrams tried to take away Pietrowski's appetite by smothering the net, but neither was able to do much damage consistently, because of Pietrowski's solid returns and rocket passing shots from the baseline.

"I knew (Gentile) would be coming into the net, so I just tried to get set for my passing shots," said Pietrowski, who is 6-2.

Gentile and Pietrowski split the first four games of the match, but Pietrowski began picking apart Gentile's serve and ran off with the next five games. Gentile, who upset top-seeded Nathan Jackmon of Santa Barbara in the semifinals, 0-6, 7-5, 6-1, led Pietrowski, 3-1, in the second set before he began rushing his approach shots and making numerous unforced errors.

"I was trying to attack his backhand, but I made too many errors," said Gentile, who has signed to play at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo next year. "I was a little bit tight."

Abrams wasn't tight, he simply never got going.

"I got about three-quarters of my first serves in on the first game, but he was hitting them early," Abrams said. "He grew in confidence and took it from there."

Pietrowski broke Abrams' serve two more times in the set and never allowed Abrams to gain momentum.

"Some days you're going to come up against someone that plays like that," he said. "I did everything I could."

San Clemente's doubles team of Jeff Shoemaker and Daniel Roditi did what they could, but it wasn't enough against Corona's Darren Auld and Dave Robles, losing, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, in the finals.

In the semifinals, Auld and Robles used a first-set tiebreaker victory to propel them to a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 victory over University's Jason Meyers and Robbie Wilkins. Shoemaker and Roditi handily defeated Corona del Mar's Jed Weinstein and Tyler Stonebreaker, 6-3, 6-2, to reach the finals.

In addition to winning two tiebreakers Saturday, Auld and Robles survived two match points in a round-of-16 victory over Trabuco Hills' Nolan Cooper and Bryan Johnson.

"That was a wake-up call," Robles said. "We've matured over the year. A year ago, we'd have lost that round-of-16 match."

Had Roditi and Shoemaker won, it would have been Roditi's second section doubles title in three years.

"I was hoping just to get here," said Roditi, who will play at Saddleback College next year. "It would have been nice to win, but I had a good run."

Shoemaker is only a junior, but he said his run is over.

"I'm burned out," he said. "This is my last tennis match. I just don't enjoy it as much. I'm concentrating on football next year."

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