Preps

Saturday, May 11 2013 11:06 PM

Top seeds thrive at South Area boys tennis championships

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    By Alex Horvath / The Californian

    Brian Yanez from Ridgeview High School attempts a forehand winner during his match against Sammy Ramirez of East High during the individual meet at Wasco High School.

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    By Alex Horvath / The Californian

    Sullivan Roche from BCHS competes in the individual area meet at Wasco High School.

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    By Alex Horvath / The Californian

    Sammy Ramirez from East High attempts a forehand winner during his match against Brian Yanez of Ridgeview during the individual meet at Wasco High School.

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    By Alex Horvath / The Californian

    Anthony Busacca of Liberty High returns serve from Ryan Bilotta, from Tehachapi during the individual meet at Wasco High School.

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BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian

WASCO -- Everything went according to plan for Liberty High's Anthony Busacca during the final two rounds of the Central Section South Area Individual Tournament.

Ditto for fellow local high school boys tennis standouts Sullivan Roche of Bakersfield Christian, Chris Robles of Garces and Sam Ramirez of East.

In fact the two-day event, which wrapped up Saturday, produced very few surprises as nearly all of the top seeds in both singles and doubles advanced through to the third-and-final round, automatically qualifying for the Central Section Individual Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Wasco.

Busacca, the tournament's No. 1 seed in singles, won both of his matches with ease, dropping a total of three games combined.

"I had a lot of fun out here," Busacca said. "I was serving and volleying a lot, coming to the net a lot. Hit a lot of first serves. Very few double faults. Just really played my best today I thought."

Busacca was one 24 singles players (along with 24 doubles teams) from Kern County slotted into the south area tournament's 32-player/team draws, with the eight seeded entries each receiving first round byes.

However, the brackets went only through the third round, stopping prior to the would-be semifinals and finals, leaving four "winners" in both singles and doubles.

That group will join the eight automatic qualifiers from the section's other two area tournaments along with a four wild cards to battle it out for Central Section supremacy.

Among the four singles and four doubles entries to advance Saturday at Wasco High, all but one was a top-four seed.

The No. 5 doubles team of Nolan Schuler and Tanner Harris (Bakersfield Christian), pulled the only third-round upset, though it be a mild one, beating the fourth-seeded duo of Thomas Newman and Christian Curatchague (Garces) 6-4, 6-4.

Roche (No. 2), Robles (No. 3) and Ramirez (No. 4) all won their third-round singles matches in straight sets.

"I'd kind of like to play the tournament all the way out but I like the idea that you can qualify," Roche said. "I'm glad I only had to come out here one day and do it. I'm happy that I could do it in a timely fashion, get off the court quickly."

The top-three seeded doubles teams also breezed through with ease.

No. 1 Andrew Engel and Drew Raney of Liberty claimed a 6-0, 6-4 third-round victory over Stockdale's Andre Paradise and Daniel Van Matre.

"We had a solid day," Engel said. "The first match we played was kind of weird because they had a different playing style but we got it done there. Then in our (second match) we came out firing, won 6-0. The second set we got a little loose but we were still able to pull it out."

Stockdale's other two doubles teams were third-round winners. John Matthew Flores and Matthew Nisson (No. 2 seeds) beat Tehachapi's Keegan Zehr and Jonathan Supple 6-0, 6-1 and Patrick Nasser and Nizam Khan beat Garces' Alec Slykerman and Zach Gomez 6-1, 6-0.

"Today was just a good day," Nisson said. "We were both playing solid and we just putting pressure on our opponents. That translated to good results."

Arguably the most exciting action during the third round was Ramirez's victory over Brian Yanez of Ridgeview.

After taking two games in a row to pull out a 6-4 first-set victory, Ramirez won the first game of the second set and appeared to be on his way to a quick win over the fifth-seeded Yanez.

But Yanez refused to go down without a fight, winning five of the next six games before finally succumbing to Ramirez 7-5.

"It's definitely hard to take," Yanez said. "...All props to him. He's a great player. He gets a lot of balls back and he's extremely athletic."

Ramirez said the warm weather gave him motivation not to let the match go to a third set.

"I knew that I probably wouldn't be able to handle playing a third set because it was so hot," Ramirez said. "So I knew I'd better finish it in the second set."

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