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Favorite's Absence Opens the Door

City tennis: Several players from region in contention after Palisades' Tafazoli is withheld from competition.


WOODLAND HILLS — Talk at the Warner Center Tennis Club before the City Section individual tournament Monday centered not on who was playing, but who wasn't playing.

Defending singles champion Artin Tafazoli of Palisades High was withheld from Thursday's qualifying round for academic reasons by Coach Bud Kling, opening up the draw for several players from the region. Tafazoli was academically eligible for Monday's competition.

"I pulled Artin out of the tournament so he could spend more time studying, graduate this spring and go to a Division I school," said Kling, who guided the Dolphins to their 24th City team championship two weeks ago.

Without Tafazoli to contend with, sophomores James Magsino and Matt Jones of El Camino Real could meet in the quarterfinals.

"When I saw the pairings, I knew if I won my first two matches, I might have to play Matt [Jones]," said Magsino, seeded No. 3 in the 32-player draw. "If that happens, I'll have to play well to beat him. But if I do, I'll have a good chance of getting to the finals."

Magsino, who led the Conquistadores to the City semifinals this season, blanked Hien Huyah of Franklin, 6-0, 6-0, and will play Barzin Pakandam of Palisades in the round of 16 Wednesday.

Jones, seeded No. 7, beat Anthony Bacho of Carson, 6-0, 6-0, and plays David Keyes of University in the next round.

"It would be fun to play each other," Jones said of the possibility of facing Magsino. "He plays No. 1 and I play No. 2, so we hit together all the time in practice. We're about even--sometimes he wins, sometimes I win."

Dan Nguyen, El Camino Real's No. 3 player, advanced with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Eagle Rock's Gabriel Tojos.

In other first-round matches, Nima Roshan of Cleveland outlasted Eric Weiss of Chatsworth, 6-0, 2-6, 6-2, and Lee Weinstein of Granada Hills beat San Fernando's Steve Chavez, 6-3, 6-1.

In doubles, all three Granada Hills teams advanced, led by the No. 1 duo of Dan Lim and Anand Murthy.

Lim and Murthy, seeded No. 4, beat Aki Murai and Jason Spears of Narbonne, 6-0, 6-0. They will likely play Palisades' Philip Jurjeu and Stan Kosynsk in the round of 16. Lim and Murthy defeated the Palisades pair in the City team finals.

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