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Troy's Das Makes a Big Impression

April 10, 2001|DAVE McKIBBEN

Troy sophomore Jeff Das isn't usually mentioned in a discussion of the area's top players, maybe because his quiet game and his polite demeanor aren't attention grabbers. But if the early part of the junior season and the first half of the high school season are any indication, Das' name could start coming up a lot more.

In his first two Southern California designated junior tournaments of the year, Das won in San Diego and reached the finals in Fullerton in the boys' 16 division. His Southern California ranking has jumped from 16 to two in the last six months. In high school play, he has won 41 of 42 sets. He suffered his first loss last week, losing to undefeated Patrick Buchanan of Servite, 6-4, on Thursday.

Last year, Das was a nice player who beat everyone ranked below him and faltered whenever he played a highly-ranked player. But that isn't happening anymore. This year in high school, Das has already defeated UC-Irvine bound Brian Morton of Corona del Mar, 6-1, and the Sea Kings' Cameron Ball, the defending Pacific Coast League singles champion, 7-5.

"I didn't do anything special against those guys," Das said. "Against Ball, I just tried to return his serve and pick my spots. Morton crushes the ball, so I tried to get it back and hope he'll eventually miss."

In fifth-ranked Troy's victory over eighth-ranked Canyon, Das swept his three sets easily--impressing Canyon Coach Will Wilkins.

"His game is way too mature for somebody his age," Wilkins said. "And it's easy to root for a kid like that, he's so polite and nice."

Maybe too nice.

"My coach told me I was being too kind with my line calls, giving away a lot of points in big matches," Das said. "I think I've gotten a little better with that."

He started putting it all together last fall, about the time torn ligaments in his left wrist began to heal. In September, Das won the Northridge junior tournament, defeating higher-ranked players along the way.

"That tournament gave me a lot of confidence," he said. "I started going for my shots a lot more after that."

Beginning Thursday, Das plans to go for a lot more. He hopes to improve on his national boys' 16 ranking of 35 at the Easter Bowl Super National Tournament in Palm Springs, April 12-19.


The 101st Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament opens Thursday, April 26th and ends Saturday April 28th in high school divisions. Over 1600 players will compete in 34 divisions. Admission is $8 Thursday and Friday, $12 Saturday and Sunday.


Rain and wet courts postponed the 16th Canyon Team Challenge on Saturday. The 16-team tournament has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 21.

Third-ranked Servite (15-0) and eighth-ranked Canyon (10-3) head the field. Other top teams entered are Esperanza, Irvine, Mater Dei, Santa Margarita, El Dorado, Aliso Viejo and Palm Springs. The round-robin will be played at four sites, Canyon, Diamond Bar, El Dorado and Esperanza. The semifinals and finals, at 2:30 and 4 p.m, will be held at Anaheim Hills Racquet Club.

Last year, Palm Springs won the tournament, defeating Canyon in the semifinals and Aliso Niguel in the final.

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Orange County Sportswriters' Poll


Pos. School League Rec 1. Corona del Mar (1) Pacific Coast 14-0 2. Los Alamitos (2) Sunset 10-2 3. Servite (5) Serra 15-0 4. Woodbridge (4) Sea View 11-4 5. Troy (3) Freeway 13-2 6. Capistrano Valley (9) South Coast 10-0 7. Dana Hills (6) South Coast 8-4 8. University (7) Pacific Coast 11-6 9. Canyon (8) Century 10-3 10. Sunny Hills (10) Freeway 9-4


Others: Los Amigos (14-1), Santa Margarita (10-5), Mater Dei (14-3), Esperanza (12-2).

Last week's rankings in parentheses

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