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Rhodes rides to final

July 22, 2005

Chris Yemma

Observing as a spectator Thursday at the 16th annual War by the Shore

junior tennis tournament, Corona del Mar High boys tennis coach Tim

Mang caught a glimpse of the future.

The future will come as early as next spring.

Fifteen-year-old Corona del Mar resident Parker Rhodes, the

seventh seed, defeated second-seeded Michael Ramsey of Los Alamitos,

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6-4, 6-0, in a boys 16s singles semifinal Thursday at Balboa Bay Club

Racquet Club.

Rhodes, who will be a freshman at CdM in the fall, will face

top-seeded Ryan Mayer of Yorba Linda for the championship at 11 a.m.

today.

The two other Newport-Mesa area players still in contention after

Wednesday's matches -- Melissa Matsuoka and Joseph Di Giulio -- bowed

out in Thursday's semis.

It was Rhodes who stole the spotlight.

Observing with Rhodes' family, Mang was pleased with what he saw

Thursday.

"Right now he will be one of my top guys on varsity," Mang said.

"He just needs to get a little stronger. But he plays smart and uses

the court well."

The CIF Southern Section Division I semifinalist CdM boys tennis

team has three main spots to fill after the departure of graduates

Wesley Miller, Spencer Reitz and Matt Chou.

Mang said Rhodes will likely play No. 2 singles next spring.

"It depends on how much stronger he gets," Mang said. "He's got

the brains, he just needs the offense."

The 5-foot-7, 105-pound Rhodes had a noticeably smaller frame than

his opponent, Ramsey, on Thursday. But the CdM resident's size and

lesser power didn't hamper his ability to dispatch the Los Alamitos

competitor in two quick sets.

Rhodes has yet to lose a set in this tournament, but the

top-seeded Mayer could provide the biggest test.

"I think I'll have to play really well at everything [to defeat

Mayer]," Rhodes said after wrapping up his semifinal match. "I'm

going to have to play one of my best games."

Rhodes, who has been playing the sport since he was 5, is looking

to follow in his brother's footsteps. Trenton Rhodes was an

All-American tennis player at CdM in the early 1990s.

The younger Rhodes said he was confident in his abilities.

"I think I can be better than him," he said.

Rhodes will have a busy Friday.

After his singles match, he and partner Jason Lin, the

second-seed, face the top-seeded duo of Corona del Mar resident Omeed

Ghassemi and Ryan Agbayani in the boys 16s doubles final at 2 p.m.

Rhodes and Lin bested Brandon Mitchell and Ron Tisalan, 6-0, 6-1,

while Ghassemi and Agbayani defeated Evan Bolles and Chris Keeler,

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