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CdM's Hoffmann battles, but falls in Ojai singles final

STAFF WRITER

OJAI – It was inevitably going to become a rivalry in the coming years as they entered the collegiate ranks at Cal and Stanford, but on Saturday, Corona del Mar’s Bjorn Hoffmann and Harvard-Westlake’s Michael Genender awarded tennis fans with a glimpse into the future.

Sporting their high school colors in this encounter, it was Genender who stole the show at the prestigious Ojai Tournament, topping Hoffmann, 6-1, 6-4, in the CIF boys singles final, capturing the famed Farnam Cup a year after finishing as the tournament’s runner-up.

Hoffmann – a future Golden Bear – won the silver medal and was the lone Orange County athlete playing in a championship round on Saturday.

“I really like being out here and I wanted to make it last as long as possible and go out and compete for my school,” he said after the match. “I thought I competed hard today, got past a tough semis. (Genender) played pretty well, but it’s a really cool experience and I’m feeling good.”

The Sea Kings junior opened his day with a straight-sets victory over Palos Verdes’ Brandon Holt before seeing the tournament’s top-seeded player in the final.

Genender – a blue-chip Stanford recruit – dropped only one set on Saturday, his first of the day against Los Alamitos’ Riley Smith in the semis. The two highly touted prospects battled for nearly two hours with Genender eventually pulling out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Smith.

The Wolverines senior carried that momentum into the final, dominating the first set against Hoffmann, 6-1, in 20 minutes.

“I was really excited to play out here in front of everybody, but I was a little bit tight early, especially big points – second serves,” added Hoffmann, who double-faulted four times in the opening set. “It definitely took me a little while to sink into it, but he came out on fire. Second set was definitely a little more leveled.”

Hoffmann came out of a double break in the second set up 4-1 with the crowd on his side and an opportunity to go up 5-1 with service. Genender recaptured the momentum minutes later, breaking serve the next game, and consequently winning the last five to capture the singles title.

“I’m very proud of him,” Sea Kings coach Jamie Gresh said of Hoffmann. “He’s such a nice guy that competes really hard with great sportsmanship and class. He’s exactly what I want our program to be about.”

On the doubles side, University’s Konrad Kozlowski and Ardi Safi dropped their semifinals match to Point Loma’s Keegan Smith and Ivan Thamma, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, Saturday morning.

Point Loma went on to finish as the doubles runner-up, losing to Palm Desert in the finals in straight sets.

For University, it was the first time since 2009 the Trojans did not have a representative in either the single or doubles final at Ojai.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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