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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | BOYS' TENNIS

Sheng's Challengers Already Aced From Singles Competition

May 14, 2000|LAUREN PETERSON

Philip Sheng of Thousand Oaks High already was a heavy favorite to repeat as Southern Section singles champion by virtue of his 28-1 record and Marmonte League championship.

But with Nick Weiss of Calabasas and Malibu's Scott Stewart, Sheng's main challengers, out of the individual championships, which begin Saturday, Sheng's chances are even better.

"He's doing good," Thousand Oaks Coach Dave Assorson said of Sheng. "It's hard to play at the top of your game all the time, but he's playing very well. If he doesn't have a bad day, I don't see anybody that can beat him."

Sheng's only loss is to Weiss, who is ineligible because he did not play in the Frontier League tournament.

"It was just not something I was up for this year," Weiss said. "I did that all last year and it was fun, but I have a lot of tennis ahead of me, and I just wasn't prepared to do that again."

Weiss (35-1), who will attend Washington on a partial tennis scholarship next year, played in nearly every dual match for the Coyotes (13-5, 5-1), and said he plans to continue in the team playoffs.

Weiss was the No. 2-seeded player in the boys' Southern Section interscholastic division of the Ojai tournament three weeks ago, but was upset, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, by Corona del Mar sophomore Cameron Ball in the second round.

Weiss badly wanted to win an Ojai title and admitted he was disappointed with his play there, but said that had no bearing on his decision not to play Southern Section singles.

Stewart is the only person to beat Weiss this season.

*

The best of the region's tennis crop rose to the top during league tournaments last week.

Sheng won the Marmonte individual title for the third consecutive season, beating Westlake's No. 1 player, Alex Yaftali, in a tough match, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Rio Mesa senior Quinn Borchard won the Pacific View League singles title for the second year in a row. He defeated teammate Davey Jones, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), in the final match.

Burbank No. 1 player Tigran Martirosyan also defeated a teammate, No. 2 player Shara Surabi, 6-1, 6-2, to capture the Foothill League championship. Crespi's Stephen Amritraj captured the Mission League title over Harvard-Westlake's Andrew Rosenfeld and Robert Yim of Glendale won the Pacific League title.

League champions and runners-up in singles and doubles play are eligible for the Southern Section tournament.

Tim Mullane and Amir Nejad, Agoura's No. 1 and 2 singles players during the regular season have done well since joining forces recently. The pair advanced to the quarterfinals of the Ojai tournament, and defeated Westlake's No. 1 team of Mike Horak and Billy Corso, 6-2, 6-4, in the league tournament.

"I knew they were going to win the whole thing," Coach Stuart Limbert of Agoura said. "They're both good. Tim has really picked it up this year and Amir is pretty steady, and they both get along so well. I think they can do well in the [section] tournament."

*

Poly High was a surprise this season.

The Parrots advanced to the City Invitational final in only the fourth year of the program's existence, a testament to hard work by the players, according to Poly Coach Jason Klinger.

"We're the unknowns," Klinger said before the Parrots were edged, 16-13 1/2, by Sherman Oaks CES in the Invitational final Wednesday. "We're the blue-collar team of the area."

Seniors Marco Ceballos and Chaitanya Aysola, and sophomore JonRay Guzman were top players for the Parrots.

*

Granada Hills lost its fourth title match in five seasons when the Highlanders were beaten by El Camino Real (15-1) in Thursday's City Championship final.

The Highlanders (14-2) lost to Palisades in the 1996, '97 and '99 title matches.

Granada Hills junior Steve Choi wasn't around for any of those defeats, but the Highlanders' latest loss was especially painful for him.

Choi transferred from El Camino Real before the season.

"It seems like everywhere I go we lose by a close score," he said.

Correspondent Steve Galluzzo contributed to this notebook.

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