Ojai State Tournament Results
April 24 - 27, 2014
Lovedeep Singh Reaches State Singles Final
The ARC Men’s Tennis Team qualified four singles players and all three doubles teams for the 80-player singles and 80-team doubles draws of the State Individual Championships at Ojai. In the singles Lovedeep Singh went in as the #1 seed from Northern California. Kevin Valentine, Jimmy Giovannini, and Adam Duong also qualified and were seeded #7, #10, and #14 respectively. In the doubles Duong/Singh entered the tournament as the #1 seed from the North. Giovannini/Valentine were the #6 seed and Nick Cardoza/Nic Atkinson received the final North seed at #16.
All four ARC players received byes in the first round of singles. In the second round Giovannini and Duong lost close matches to Southern California players. Valentine won his second round match routinely and in the round of 32 he found himself pitted against San Diego Mesa #1, and Socal #10, James Tenbroeck. Tenbroeck jumped out early, winning the first set easily, 6-2. In the second set Valentine won several key long rallies, one of which was an 82 ball rally, and physically wore down Tenbroeck, winning the second set 6-1. In the third set Tenbroeck found another gear and took a 5-0 lead, only to see Valentine fight back to within a game. Unfortunately for Valentine and the Beavers, Valentine was unable to hold serve at 4-5, and he fell on the short end of 3-hour grind-fest of a match.
Singh had a tough draw from the third round on. In the round of 32 he played COD #2 player Felipe Fuentes. Singh overcame early match jitters, winning the first set 7-5, and found his rhythm in the second set cruising to a 6-2 victory. In the round of 16, Singh drew Irvine Valley #2, and Socal #8, Simon Guillin. Singh again struggled early in the first set, before winning the last nine games of the match for a 6-3, 6-0 win. Singh next faced Mt. San Jacinto #1, and Socal #4, Vitor Galvao. At 2-2 in the first set Galvao tweaked a pre-existing back injury and Singh took control of the match, winning the next five games before Galvao was forced to retire at 6-2, 1-0.
The semifinal match for Singh would be one for the highlight films. Singh met up with Richard Catabona from L.A. Pierce in a rematch of a straight-set victory for Singh earlier in the year. However, Catabona was a different player this time around, playing great counter-punching tennis, forcing Singh out of his comfort zone and into a physical battle. Singh went up an early break in the first set before Catabona came roaring back to tie the score at 3-3. They traded holds until Singh, serving at 5-6, played a loose game and was broken, giving Catabona the first set. In the second set it was more of the same physically demanding tennis. Singh played his best tennis in the big moments and won the set 6-3. In the third set both players were physically struggling, Catabona dealing with cramps and Singh suffering from the beginning stages of heat stroke. Singh broke early and was able to hold out for the rest of the set, despite facing several break points, to win the match 6-4 in the third. The energy from the crowd and the players was a truly remarkable sight to see and in many spectators opinions, it was the match of the tournament.
In the final Singh faced off in another rematch from earlier in the season, this time against Nathan Eshmade from Cerritos, his only previous loss on the season. Singh, still physically drained from his previous matches did not have enough in the tank to fend off the all-court attack from Eshmade. The Cerritos sophomore played a calculated and aggressive match, while Singh found himself too often behind the baseline retrieving, rather than attacking. Singh found glimpses of his top level, but was unable to sustain it long enough to get the better of Eshmade. In the end, it was a close, but convincing 7-5, 6-3 victory for Eshmade, the deserving champion of the state singles title.
In the doubles all three Beavers teams advanced to at least the third round. Nic Atkinson/Nick Cardoza beat the Bakersfield #2 team to advance to the round of 32 before being beaten by the Riverside #1, and Socal #2, team of Garcia/Stephenson. Giovannini/Valentine received the #6 seed from the North and reached the round of 16 before losing to the #3 team from the South, Campos/Galvao from Mt. San Jacinto in a match where they had several set points in the first, but were unable to convert. The second set was not as close as they fell 6-1. The North #1 seeded team of Duong/Singh rolled through the draw to the quarterfinals, but with Singh ailing after a hard day on the singles court, and their opponents playing their top tennis, Duong/Singh lost 6-4, 6-2 to Gray/Tshkirkin from Fresno City. Duong became the first player in American River College history to reach the state quarterfinals on two separate occasions.
It was an incredible year for the Beavers, filled with tremendous individual and team efforts. The Beavers will return up to three starters, setting the foundation for what could be another strong year for ARC Men’s Tennis.