FOUNTAIN VALLEY — When Linda Pham's youngest son was just a toddler, she was already testing him.
Max always loved to eat, Linda said. But she said she would put two circular objects in front of him as he crawled on the ground.
One was a ball. One was an apple.
"A tennis ball, or any ball," she said. "He'd go for the ball first, and then he'd grab the food. With him, he likes the ball."
Max Pham is now 14, and now the Newport Coast resident specializes in whacking those tennis balls back and forth across a net. He did it just a little bit better than his opponent Friday afternoon at the Southern California Junior Sectionals.
The No. 2-seeded Pham outlasted Bryce Pereira of San Gabriel, 6-3, 6-4, in the boys' 14 singles round of 32 match at Fountain Valley Tennis Center. Pham advances to play Sangeet Sridhar of Simi Valley in the round of 16, at 9 a.m. Saturday back at Fountain Valley.