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Fullerton Tennis stars challenge ojai....continued

Kang and Chiang have played singles primarily during this high school season. They reached Tuesday’s Freeway League championship semifinal rounds in singles on Tuesday at the La Habra Tennis Center.

“We haven’t played recently too much together, but we’ve improved individually, so I feel like it will help us when we get together in doubles,” Kang said. “I would say we’re taking it one round at a time, trying to get as far as we can. It’s pretty prestigious to play in.”

Concurred Chiang: “We’re going to take it day by day.”

It is the fourth straight year the Indians, coached by Leon Palmisano, have had players at Ojai.

“We’re proud of it,” Palmisano said.

Kang and Chiang play Peninsula’s Louis Hoeger and Dariush Jalali on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at Ojai’s iconic downtown Libbey Park South in the opening round. If Kang and Chiang reach the semifinal and final rounds, they would play at Libbey Park on Saturday.

Chavatipon is seeded second in the girls 18. She’s lived in Fullerton her entire life and attends the Advantage Tennis Academy in Irvine. She plays in the 18-and-under division regularly in United States Tennis Association- and International Tennis Federation-sanctioned events. This will be her third Ojai. Chavatipon made it to the quarterfinals in the 18s as a 14-year-old in 2016 and to the quarterfinals in the 16s as a 13-year-old in 2015. She’s a 5-star recruit by the web site, ranked sixth in California and 29th nationally in the 18-under division.

“She hopes to be in at least the semifinals if not winning the tournament this year,” mother Marilyn Carlos Chavatipon wrote in an email to

Chavatipon will play Hana Moss of Los Angeles in the second round Thursday at 9:30 a.m. on a private court at
574 Quail Oaks Drive, Ojai.

The semifinal round in girls 18 will be played on Saturday and the final round Sunday at Libbey Park.

Altamirano is the 13th seed in the 128-draw singles and the sixth seed with Laubie in the 128-draw doubles California Community College individual events played under the Ojai Tournament banner.

Altamirano, a sophomore from Ayala High in Chino, qualified for the state tournament  by her runner-up finish in the Orange Empire Conference Tournament. The No. 7-seed, Altamirano defeated No. 3-seed Dominique Wilette, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, and No. 6-seed Hana Papaco, 6-3, 6-1. Orange Coast’s Karen Trinh took the championship with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Altamirano.

Laubie, a sophomore from Brea High, and Altamirano were seeded second in the OEC Tournament. They defeated teams from Cypress, Riverside and Saddleback in straight sets, losing only six games in the three matches. The Hornets lost in the finals to Saddleback’s Jackie Malkonian and Joanna Colin, 6-4, 6-3.

Altamirano plays her opening match in singles on Thursday against Sarah Kellogg of Modesto at 9:30 a.m. at Buena High in Ventura. It is a second round match for both players, who received byes in the first round.

Laubie and Altamirano have a bye in their first round Thursday. They play the winner of the Natalia Garcia-Priscilla Jaramillo of Imperial Valley/Jessica Martinez-Leshayia Meadows of Reedley match Thursday at 3 p.m. at Ventura College.

“I have known and worked with Alex for the last three years,” Fullerton College assistant coach Akhom Inthavong said. “Two years ago, she didn’t do that great at the OEC Tournament, just missing going to Ojai as a singles player. Since then, she has dedicated herself on the tennis courts, putting in the necessary hours of practice. She’s always the first to arrive and the last to leave. The talent was always there. She didn’t shine until he started to believe that she can compete against top players.

“It was a process. She didn’t just make a big jump or had a good week playing (in the OEC Tournament), she worked hard and improved her tennis each time she stepped on the court.”

Laubie and Altamirano have overcome injuries to reach Ojai as the No. 6-seed.

“They compliment each other really well,” Inthavong said. “They are a unique double team because they are both left-handed. It is difficult for other teams to get used to and by the time they do, the match is usually close to being over. Unfortunately, they both have been playing through injuries, but they are doing their best and having fun at the same time.”

The community college women’s singles and doubles are held at the Ojai Valley Inn on Saturday. The singles semifinals are at Libbey Park at 8:30 a.m. and the championship at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The doubles title match is at Libbey at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

 Rae, a freshman from Corby, United Kingdom, plays Henry Adams of Texas’ Abilene Christian in the opening round of the 32-draw Men’s Independent Singles on Friday at 8 a.m. at the Pierpont Racquet Club in Ventura. Mosquera, from Ecuador, plays AJ Flora of UC Santa Cruz on Friday at Pierpont, also at 8 a.m. Brazilian Barazetti plays Jonathan Sheehy of Abilene Christian. Varenne plays Nico Agritellev of Abilene Christian at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Pierpont. Bami, a junior from Kerman, Calif., plays Milos Zoric of Biola on Friday at 8 a.m. at Pierpont and Sergio Romero, a sophomore from Riverside, plays Jake Haffner of Cal Lutheran on Friday at 8 a.m. at Pierpont.

In Men’s Independent Doubles, Mosquera is teamed with Romero, Bami with Barazetti and Rae with Vareene. They play opening round matches Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Pierpont.

Milosevic, a freshman from Serbia, plays Kylie McLellan of Cal Lutheran in the opening round of the 32-draw Women’s Independent Singles on Thursday at 8 a.m. at Pierpont. She teams with Vrhovac, from Bosnia Herzegovina, in doubles, opening play on Thursday in the second round with a match against Amanda Rodriguez and Kindall Young of Whittier College at 3 p.m. Thursday at Pierpont.

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