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Top-Seeded Nguyen Seeking More Success

Tennis: Saddleback High senior, winner of five tournaments in a row, leads strong contingent from the county at 101st Ojai Valley event.

April 26, 2001|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Kim-Anh Nguyen, a Saddleback High senior and currently one of the most successful juniors in Southern California, leads a talented group of Orange County players into the 101st Ojai Valley tennis tournament that begins today.

Nguyen, an Ojai finalist last year in the girls' 18s and a 16s champion in 1999, is seeded first in the 32-player draw of the girls' 18 singles division. She has won the last five tournaments she has played--J.P. Yamasaki, Claremont Open Sectional, Claremont, Fullerton and Long Beach. A three-time first-team Times' all-county selection, Nguyen has decided to forgo college for a year while she plays the women's professional satellite circuit.

The second-seeded player is Corona del Mar sophomore Anne Yelsey, who won the consolation championship at last week's Easter Bowl.

Other strong contenders for the girls' 18 title are Newport Harbor junior Natalie Braverman, who lost to Nguyen in the Long Beach semifinals in March and won the National Open in Torrance three weeks ago; Canyon freshman Tracy Lin, who won the girls' 14 here last year and reached the fourth round at last week's Easter Bowl, and Dana Point's Amberly Tantee, who recently signed with Florida, the fifth-ranked women's team in the nation.

The field could have been even stronger, but Woodbridge senior Susanna Lingman, Villa Park senior Arpi Kojian and Villa Park freshman Lindsey Nelson did not enter. Lingman, a semifinalist last year, decided to concentrate on the Easter Bowl. Kojian had a prior tournament commitment, and Nelson pulled out after straining a stomach muscle at the Easter Bowl.

Brittany Reitz, last year's Southern Section girls' individual singles champion, is seeded in the girls' 18 doubles draw with Kelly Perry of San Diego. In the girls' 16 draw, Dana Hills sophomore Kady Pooler and Woodbridge sophomore Elizabeth Exon are expected to challenge top-seeded Lori Stern of Carpinteria Cate.

In the boys' interscholastic division, juniors Patrick Buchanan of Servite, Cameron Ball of Corona del Mar, Aaron Yovan of University and Sergiu Modoc of El Dorado should contend for the title. K.C. Corkery of Manhattan Beach Mira Costa is top seeded and Rylan Rizza of Palos Verdes Peninsula is seeded second.

In the boys' interscholastic doubles, Brian Morton and Garrett Snyder of Corona del Mar are seeded first. In the boys' 16 singles, Carsten Ball of Newport Beach, Adam Loucks of Irvine, Jonathan Sanchez of Servite High, Jeffrey Das of Troy High and John Mano of Los Alamitos High are entered.

In the boys' 14, Kaes Van't Hof of Newport Beach, Lawrence Wang of Anaheim, Spencer Reitz of Newport Coast and Ryan Sandburg of Orange are entered. In the girls' 14, Bonnie Adams of Newport Beach, Clarissa Fermin of Yorba Linda and Ashley Williams of Irvine are entered.

Arizona State senior Faye DeVera (Villa Park), Arizona sophomore Tom Lloyd (Esperanza) and USC junior Ryan Moore (Servite) are entered in the main draws of the Pac-10 men and women's singles divisions.

In the men's Pac-10 invitational, Parker Collins (Corona del Mar), Scott Merryman (Capistrano Valley) and Christian Jensen (Corona del Mar) of USC are entered. In the Pac-10 women's invitational, UCLA's Michelle Stiefel (Woodbridge) and Chelsea Godbey (Newport Harbor), USC's Melissa Esmero (Mater Dei) and California's Kristen Case (Newport Harbor) are competing.

All junior finals will be Saturday at Libbey Park. All college finals will be held Sunday, also at Libbey Park.

101ST OJAI VALLEY TENNIS TOURNAMENT

* What: Pacific 10 Conference individual tournament featuring NCAA men's singles champion Alex Kim of Stanford; thirty-four divisions, including college, open and junior events.

* When: Today through Sunday.

* Where: Libbey Park in downtown Ojai is tournament headquarters.

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