121ST ANNUAL JIM HILLMAN DOUBLES SECTIONALS:USTA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
NEWLY CROWNED CHAMPIONS AND THRILLING COMPETITION
NEWLY CROWNED CHAMPIONS AND THRILLING COMPETITION
NOVEMBER 7, 2023 | BRENDEN FISHER
121ST ANNUAL JIM HILLMAN DOUBLES SECTIONALS: NEWLY CROWNED CHAMPIONS AND THRILLING COMPETITIONUSTA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
NOVEMBER 7, 2023
Top: Doubles Sectionals Mixed 18s champions Rudy Quan and Maren Urata; Middle: Girls’ 18s champions Daniela Borruel and Alexandra Wolf; Bottom: Boys’ 18s champions Brandon Vu and Calvin Wang.
(Photos – Lexie Wanninger/USTA SoCal)
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Showcasing some of the top talent that SoCal junior tennis has to offer, the 121st Annual Jim Hillman Southern California Junior Sectional Doubles Championships concluded this past weekend in Orange County. Competing throughout five tournament locations, the two-weekend long event saw its final match on Sunday, November 5th at Los Caballeros Racquet and Sport Club.
MIXED 18s – In the Mixed 18s championship, a pair of highly-touted, division one commits emerged victorious. The top-seeded duo of Princeton commit Maren Urata from La Canada Flintridge and UCLA commit Rudy Quan of Thousand Oaks took home the hardware. The duo dropped only one set the entire tournament, defeating finalists and No. 5 seed Daniela Borruel and Jovan Pedroza, representing Buena Park and Los Alamitos respectively. Urata and Quan claimed victory by a score of 7-6(5), 6-1.
Following the match, the pair was overjoyed with the outcome and how their pairing resulted. “I feel very happy. It’s been a very fun and very tiring two weeks, but it’s been great to be playing with a great friend like Maren,” stated Rudy. “We both train with the same coach and we’re all in a tight knit group where we’re trained, so we knew it was going to be super fun competing with each other,” added Maren.
GIRLS’ 18s – In one of the most highly anticipated matches of the day, four five-star recruits duked it out to determine who would leave Orange County as the Girls’ 18s champions. Daniela Borruel ensured she would not leave the facility empty handed, as she and Pacific Palisades native Alexandra Wolf bested No. 2 seed Kristina Nordikyan out of North Hollywood and partner Fiona Lee of Ladera Ranch by a final score of 6-3, 7-6(4). Both squads had their work cut out for them as neither duo had dropped a set throughout the tournament heading into this finale.
The duo shared their excitement and admiration for one another as their first time teaming up turned out to be a success. “It’s been fun playing with Lexi and I definitely feel the energy being on the court with her. This was the first time we played together which was amazing, so we’ll probably team up again,” explained Daniela. “I have been playing this tournament since I was ten years old and this was the first title I got, so it’s pretty exciting,” shared Alexandra.
BOYS’ 18s – After back to back upsets over the No. 3 and No. 1 seeds in the tournament, No. 5 seeded Brandon Vu and Calvin Wang capped off their run with a Boys’ 18s championship victory by a score of 6-4, 6-4. The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps commit from Chino Hills and University of Texas commit of Laguna Beach bested No. 4 seeded Gregory Gamal of Villa Park and William Lokier out of Hermosa Beach to conclude their day.
Speaking of their victory, the pair were extremely happy to pull off this win together, finally capturing a doubles sectionals title as a team. “I think this win is a little extra special as I won this event in 2021, but this is likely going to be my last sectionals as Calvin is going off to college. He’s been a great teammate and friend to me throughout the years and this culminates everything that we have worked towards together,” Brandon mentioned. “Being able to play this event with one of my best friends has been a great pleasure and I’m glad we were able to play together for the last one,” Calvin said.
MIXED 16s – In the Mixed 16s finale, talent was of no shortage as four five-star recruits were on display. Trading points back and forth, No. 3 seed Reagan Levine of Laguna Beach and Tyler Lee of Tustin pulled out the championship. Going the distance, the duo knocked off top-seeded Lani Chang of Mission Viejo and Laguna Niguel’s Justin Riley Anson. Levine and Lee secured victory by a score of 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
GIRLS’ 16s – After dropping the first set, the No.1 seed in Brooke Kwon and Sydney Barnhart held on to claim the Girls’ 16s championship over No. 5 seed Olivia Mlouk and Kingsley Wolf. Falling behind early, Kwon of Diamond Bar and Barnhart out of Ladera Ranch, showed no quit against Long Beach’s Mlouk and Pacific Palisade’s Wolf. Kwon and Barnhart won by a final score of 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.
BOYS’ 16s – In a thrilling match, the Boys’ 16s championship was decided in three sets, with Ilias Bouzoubba and Brayden Tallakson edging out the win and the upset. After trading the first two sets, the third set would ultimately come down to an intense tiebreak. No. 5 seed Bouzoubba of San Diego and Tallakson of Irvine claimed victory by a score of 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(1) over No. 3 seed Andrew Johnson out of Rancho Palos Verdes and Sebastiano Cressi from Los Angeles.
MIXED 14s – Without conceding a set the entire tournament, No. 2 seeded Paxton Au of Manhattan Beach and Raina Kim of Santa Monica took home the Mixed 14s title. The pair defeated No. 1 seeded JiHyuk Kim of Irvine and Ladera Ranch’s Aubrey Meis by a final score of 6-3, 6-1.
GIRLS’ 14s – Pulling off back to back upsets in convincing fashion, Beverly Hills’ Fiona Tseng and Eastvale’s Sophia Lee secured the Girls’ 14s championship. Completing the tournament without conceding a set, the No. 3 seeded duo knocked off No. 2 seeded Valeria Machikawa and Surabhi Raghavendra. Tseng and Lee claimed victory by a final score of 6-0, 6-3 over the Cerritos and San Diego natives.
BOYS’ 14s – Only dropping one set the entire tournament and upsetting teams in two straight matches, fifth-seeded Peter Jorniak and Georgii Poliakov took home the Boys’ 14s title. The duo from Arcadia and Sherman Oaks knocked off top-seeded JiHyuk Im out of Irvine and Kai Abarca from Dana Point. The boys claimed victory in two sets by a score of 7-6(6), 6-2.
MIXED 12s – Dominating the competition, Moorpark’s Madeline Cleary and Thousand Oaks’ James Borchard took home the Mixed 12s championship Sunday. The duo did not concede a set the entire tournament, and only had one set where they gave up five points. The No. 3 seed defeated No. 4 seeded Taiki Bortolin and Mia Sandblom by a score of 6-2, 6-4. Hailing from Ventura and Manhattan Beach, Bortolin and Sandblom had a very impressive run. The pair upset the No. 1 seed in the tournament and only dropped one set before facing defeat in the championship.
GIRLS’ 12s – In a showdown of the top two seeds of the tournament, the Girls’ 12s championship was decided in two sets. Picking up her second title of the day, Madeline Cleary paired with Newport Beach’s Anya Arora, taking down the top-seeded duo of Cissy Loretta Adams and Karenna Cross. Entering the contest, neither squad had let up a set throughout the tournament. Cleary and Arora’s victory over the Agoura Hills and Los Angeles natives came by a final score of 6-0 6-3.
BOYS’ 12s – As the top four seeds of the tournament remained entering the semifinal matches, it would be the top two seeds that would battle it out for the Boys’ 12s championship. The No. 1 seeded Daniel Gardality of San Diego and Diamond Bar’s Andy Wu outlasted the No. 2 seeded Kensho Ford of Los Angeles and Christian Pohoski from Camarillo. With a final score of 6-1, 7-5, Gardality and Wu secured their victory without conceding a set all tournament. Prior to the match, Ford and Pohoski had not fallen in a set.