Corona del Mar's Bjorn Hoffmann wins CIF-SS championship


SEAL BEACH – Corona del Mar senior Bjorn Hoffmann cruised to the CIF-Southern Section championship with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Palm Desert junior Alex Kuperstein on Saturday at Seal Beach Tennis Center.

“This is a ridiculous accomplishment for me,” Hoffmann said. “This is the best way to go out as a senior.”

To reach the championship match, Hoffmann and Kuperstein won semifinal matchups against the tournament’s No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively.

“That was probably one of my greatest wins of my junior career,” Kuperstein said of his 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 semifinal win over Peninsula junior Connor Hance.

Hoffmann battled to a 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) semifinal win against Los Alamitos senior Riley Smith. Hoffmann was down two breaks in the first set and one in the second but came back to win in straight sets.

Kuperstein broke Hoffman in the first game of the championship match. Hoffmann got the break back in the next game, and he wasn’t broken for the rest of the match.

“I kind of just didn’t focus on it and let it go,” Hoffmann said of bouncing back from the first game. “I broke the next game and felt confident again.”

In the latter stages of the match, Kuperstein began mixing in extreme spins and unorthodox serves to try to spark a comeback.

“I was having fun out there … just giving whatever I had left,” said Kuperstein. “It didn’t work, but it’s all good.”

The tactical change couldn’t prevent Hoffmann from cruising to a straight-set victory, clinching the match with an ace.

“I was a little bit surprised with how dominant I was playing,” Hoffmann said. “Once I realized that I was playing that big, I had enough confidence in myself to know that I could do it.”

San Marino juniors Bryce Pereira and Connor Lee won the doubles title, 6-4, 6-3, over Palm Desert seniors Brad Cummins and Sebastian Gomez.

It was Pereira’s second consecutive year as part of the CIF-SS doubles champion team, having won in 2015 partnering with Derek Chen. In both years, Cummins was part of the runner-up team.

“Last year, at one point I was serving for the match and I got really tight, and we ended up losing that set,” Pereira said. “This time I knew that I could forget about it and not think about it as much.”

Pereira and Lee won their semifinal, 6-4, 6-0, over Harvard-Westlake’s Adam Sraberg and Jed Kronenberg. Cummins and Gomez’s semifinal opponents defaulted.

Saturday’s championship match was a rematch of April’s Ojai Tennis Tournament semifinal, a match – and tournament – Pereira and Lee also won.

“It started with Ojai,” Lee said. “We played well in that tournament and we were able to gather confidence for this one.”

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