Most Viewed Stories
Foothill's Doehler calmly advances to round of 32
NEWPORT BEACH - Stefan Doehler is calm. Calm when he’s relaxing between points, clutching his racket with crossed arms. Calm when he’s answering questions from a reporter. Calm when he’s up in a match; calm when he’s down.
Calm when he’s bashfully accepting postgame compliments, and, more importantly, calm when he’s shoulders deep in it.
And why shouldn’t he be? He is, after all, a 16 year-old kid.
Foothill’s sensational sophomore advanced to Thursday’s CIF Individuals round of 32 with victories over Orange Lutheran’s Blaine Mengert and University’s Stefan Menichella on Friday afternoon at Corona del Mar High.
“I try to stay calm all the time,” Doehler said. “I think getting angry affects how you play. If you show your opponent that you’re calm it sort of wears them down.
“That’s why I’m always calm. It’s part of my game and one of the reasons that helps me win.”
With the two victories, Doehler - the Century League singles champion - improved to 67-0 on the season, an unprecedented tally that includes notable victories over a handful of singles players that reached the postseason tournament.
“This season’s felt good so far,” he said. “CIF will hopefully make it better. We just have to see how it goes after this.”
By defeating Mengert, 6-1, 6-1, Doehler got the opportunity to showcase his developing talent against Menichella in what was probably the most anticipated match of the afternoon.
Since the tournament is largely based on the USTA 18s rankings, Doehler (ranked 15th in the boys 16s rankings) wasn’t one of the 20 ranked players heading into the tournament.
In a match that could’ve just as easily been a CIF singles semifinal, Doehler took a closely-contested first set, 7-5, and claimed the second, 6-3, to advance.
“He made me hit a lot of balls back all match,” Menichella said. “I think he saw that I was exhausted and he knew that if he didn’t play right I could’ve gained some momentum. I just didn’t have it today and he took advantage.”
Doehler trailed at only four points all match - each one in the first round.
“It’s definitely a good thing to stay as calm as he does,” Menichella said. “It makes it hard to read him because he’s always ready for the next point. He has a really good temperament for being a young player.”
You’d think that after emphatically announcing his arrival in front of peers, coaches and scouts, Doehler would reveal the slightest hint of brass.
“I just focus on each set because I know that everyone I play is good,” he said. “I think that prevents me from getting cocky. I just have a lot of confidence going into each match.”