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