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Di Giulio, Stalder advance in doubles

UCLA-bound player and Newport Harbor sophomore into sweet 16 at Junior Sectionals.

June 15, 2013|By Matt Szabo

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — Joseph Di Giulio has plenty of good memories on the tennis courts at Los Caballeros Racquet & Sports Club.

The Newport Beach resident won singles titles at the Southern California Junior Sectionals in the boys' 10s, 12s and 14s age divisions. He was top-ranked in the nation for a time in the latter two divisions.

Now, Di Giulio is not a young kid, but instead a young man. He stood on the Los Cab courts Saturday in a blue UCLA T-shirt, which makes sense because he'll be playing for the Bruins next year.

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But first things first. Another Junior Sectionals title would be nice for Di Giulio in his final year of eligibility for the tournament.

"It'd be nice to get another one in the 18s and add to my, I guess, collection of wins here," Di Giulio said. "I'm looking forward to it. It's a big tournament, and I've been training a lot for it. Hopefully I can do well."

He and partner Logan Smith of Carlsbad got off to a good start in 18s doubles at the 111th annual tournament. The No. 9 seeds easily won a pair of matches Saturday, getting past Christian and Joseph Corse of Murrieta, 6-1, 6-1, before topping German Aragon of Chula Vista and Humberto Lopez of National City, 6-0, 6-2, in a round of 32 match.

Newport Harbor sophomore Reese Stalder was the other Newport-Mesa doubles player to advance to the round of 16, with partner Austin Rapp of Rancho Mirage. Stalder and Rapp, also seeded No. 9 in the block seeding, also had a fairly easy time Saturday. They defeated Keanu Ellen of Calabasas and Chad Gilfenbain of Santa Monica, 6-0, 6-1, before getting past Philippe Rivard and Parker Wilson of Carlsbad, 6-2, 6-2.

The round of 16 will be considerably tougher for both teams. Di Giulio and Smith play No. 4-seeded JC Aragone of Yorba Linda and Gregory Garcia of Poway at 3 p.m. Monday at Los Cab. Stalder and Rapp play No. 6-seeded Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe and Riley Smith of Long Beach at the same time and venue.

"I plan on doing really well," said Di Giulio, ranked No. 35 nationally in singles in the 18s. "My goal is to win it. We'll see."

He has reason to be confident. Di Giulio said he suffered a toe injury at his last tournament, but he's fine now. He has had doubles success recently with partner Robbie Bellamy, who is the top seed at Junior Sectionals with Henry Craig. Di Giulio and Bellamy reached the semifinals at the prestigious Easter Bowl this spring.

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