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Di Giulio falls in final

Newport Beach resident, 12, battles, but falls one match short of singles title at Southern California Junior Sectionals.

June 25, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Austin Di Giulio plays against Ryan Nuno in the 12s sectional title match at Los Caballeros Tennis and Racquet Club in Fountain Valley on Monday.
Austin Di Giulio plays against Ryan Nuno in the 12s sectional… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — Austin Di Giulio's coach gave him encouragement Monday as the first set ended at Los Cabelleros Racquet & Sports Club.

"Let's go, underdog!" Brandon Fallon called out to Di Giulio, who was not only the lower seed but gave away several inches of height to his opponent, Ryan Nuno of Sylmar.

If he was the underdog, he certainly battled gamely. But things did not get better for Di Giulio, a Newport Beach resident, in the second set.

No. 2-seeded Nuno finished off a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 5-seeded Di Giulio, winning the boys' 12 singles title at the 110th annual Southern California Junior Sectional tennis championships.

Nuno was able to hit the ball with more pace, resulting in more winners than the scrappy Di Giulio, who was moved around the court at times in the 90-minute match.

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"He was in control of most of the points," said Di Giulio, who was trying to win his first Junior Sectional title in his first final appearance.

It was the third meeting between Di Giulio and Nuno, and they had split the previous two. In Monday's match, Di Giulio had a tough call go against him in the first set.

The chair umpire lost track of the score with Di Giulio serving at 1-3. He called the score at 30-40 when Di Giulio was actually up, 40-30, in the game.

It became problematic after Di Giulio lost the next point. The umpire said Nuno won the game, giving him a 4-1 advantage, when it should have been deuce, still on Di Giulio's serve.

Fallon was puzzled. So was Di Giulio's younger brother Perry, 6, who was keeping track of every point with a smart phone application. Austin appealed to the umpire but the call was not overturned. He was visibly upset, but he also was suddenly down two breaks of serve.

"[Nuno] got a lot of momentum from that," Di Giulio said. "It would have been deuce, and I would have had a good chance to win the game. I could have made it [2-3], and I went on to win two games. I could have been up, 4-3. He basically got a free game."

Fallon said he liked the way that Di Giulio bounced back. Di Giulio immediately broke Nuno's serve back and then held, narrowing the deficit to 4-3. But he would not get closer against Nuno, who is ranked No. 3 in Southern California in the 12s and did not drop a set in the tournament.

Di Giulio, ranked No. 13 in Southern California in the 12s, broke Nuno's serve to open the second set. Nuno, however, won six of the next seven games to close the match strong.

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