SOCAL SWINGS THROUGH THE 121ST OJAIUSTA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
MAY 2, 2023 | LEXIE WANNINGER
SOCAL SWINGS THROUGH THE 121ST OJAIUSTA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
MAY 2, 2023
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The Ojai Tennis Tournament, also known as The Ojai, is one of the oldest and most prestigious amateur tennis tournaments in the United States. It is an annual event that takes place in Ojai, California, ever April, and attracts top college and junior players, as well as some professional players. The tournament has a rich history dating back to 1896, making it one of the oldest tennis events in the world. 2023 marks the 121st Ojai Tennis Tournament.
The Ojai was founded by William Thacher, a teacher at Thacher School in Ojai, who wanted to create an event that would promote the sport of tennis and bring people together. The first tournament was held in 1896 and consisted of a small group of local players who competed in a single-elimination tournament. Over the years, the tournament grew in size and popularity, and by the 1920s, it had become one of the most important amateur tennis events in the country.
Throughout its history, the Ojai has played host to some of the biggest names in tennis. In the 1930s and 1940s, the tournament featured players such as Jack Kramer, Bobby Riggs, and Pancho Segura. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was a showcase for young up-and-coming players such as Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King. In the 1970s and 1980s, it featured players like John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Tracy Austin.
The tournament has also been known for its unique format, which includes both individual and team events. The individual events include singles and doubles competitions for men and women, as well as junior and senior events. The team events include the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) state championships, as well as the Pac-12 and Big West Conference championships.
This year’s tournament, held from April 19th to April 23rd, was a great success, with many exciting matches and impressive performances from players across the region. One of the most notable events was the Pac-12 Men’s Team Championship, which saw No. 1 USC defeat No. 3 Utah, 4-2, in the final. The Pac-12 Women’s Team Championship was won by No. 1 Stanford, who defeated No. 6 USC, 4-0.
Los Angeles’ Kent Hunter, who recently won a wild card into the main draw of the Rancho Santa Fe SoCal Pro Series beginning at the end of May, was a finalist in the Men’s Open Singles. In the Men’s Open Doubles, Alex Fuchs from Los Altos and UCLA’s Emon van Loben Sels from Sacramento defeated top seeds from Stanford Timothy Sah of San Diego and Christian Kontaxis of Rancho Mirage, 6-3, 6-4, to claim the championship.
In the Women’s Open Singles, unseeded Leyden Games of Irvine was a finalist against top seed Chanel Simmonds of Redmond, WA. The Women’s Open Doubles was an all-California battle with second-seeded Isabella Asenov of Ojai and Rosemead’s Makeilah Nepomuceno defeated top-seeded Christen Bartelt of Malibu and Ordina’s Julie Silveira in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory.
The Boys’ CIF Singles event saw second seed James MacDonald from University HS-Irvine defeat top seed Niels Hoffmann from Corona del Mar HS, 6-4, 6-2, to take the title. In the Boys’ CIF Doubles, second seeds Avery Tallakson and Brayden Tallakson from Woodbridge HS defeated Rex Harrison and Aden Dorros from The Bishop’s School, 6-4, 6-2, to claim the championship.
In the Boys’ 14s Singles event, top seed JiHyuk Im from Irvine defeated second seed Takuto Goh from Culver City, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, to take the title. The Boys’ 16s Singles event was won by second seed Lorenzo Brunkow from Topanga, who defeated top seed Mario Garcia from San Diego, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3), in a thrilling final.
In the Girls’ 14s Singles event, fifth seed Yuktaa Pandit from Fresno defeated second seed Fiona Tseng from Beverly Hills, 7-5, 6-3, to take the title. The Girls’ 16s Singles event was won by top seed Brooke Kwon from Diamond Bar, who defeated third seed Raina Kim from Santa Monica, 7-5, 1-6, 6-0, in the final. The Girls’ 18s Singles event was won by seventh seed Armira Kockinis from La Habra Heights, who defeated third seed Dongke Liu from Ojai, 5-7, 7-6 (1), 6-4, in a hard-fought final. In the Girls’ 18s Doubles, second-seeded Stella Simpson-Morgan from Rolling Hills and Alisa Lansky from Redondo Beach defeated Calabasas’ Giana Mucci and Reagan Levine of Laguna Beach 6-7 (8), 6-3, 6-4.
In addition to the college and junior events, the Ojai Tennis Tournament also featured the CCCAA state championships. The College of the Desert men’s team won their division by a score of 5-0, while the Orange Coast College women’s team were finalists in their division. In the Men’s California Community College Athletic Association Singles, Joe Corse from College of the Desert defeated eighth-seeded Hernan Olivas from College of the Desert, 6-4, 6-0 to take the title. In the Men’s California Community College Athletic Association Doubles, the team of Eita Ishikawa and Joe Corse from College of the Desert defeated Jinsei Tajima and Philemon Jabin from Ventura College in a third-set, 10-point tiebreaker, 4-6, 6-2, 10-4.
In the Women’s California Community College Athletic Association Singles, second-seeded Nicole West from Santa Monica College defeated fourth-seeded Hana Moss from College of the Desert 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.In the Women’s California Community College Athletic Association Doubles, the team of Hana Moss and Emunah Daffon from College of the Desert defeated the team of Anna Kynclova and Lia Sarjveladze from LA Mission College 3-6, 6-2, 10-5.
Overall, the 2023 Ojai Tennis Tournament was another successful event that showcased some of the top talent in college and junior tennis. As one of the oldest and most prestigious amateur tennis tournaments in the country, the Ojai has a rich history and continues to attract top players and fans from around the world.