Doubles partners Boyd and Kuperstein of Desert will battle for singles title

Alex Kuperstein. (Photo by Dave Loveton)
Alex Kuperstein. (Photo by Dave Loveton)

By Dave Loveton
Santa Barbara City College Sports Information

 OJAI – College of the Desert added to its glorious men’s tennis history on Saturday in the CCCAA State Championships at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club.

 Kalman Boyd, the Roadrunners’ No. 1 player and the top seed from the South, won two matches in dominating fashion to move into Sunday’s singles final against his doubles partner, No. 2 seed Alex Kuperstein. It will be the second time they’ve squared off this year as Kuperstein outlasted Boyd 6-2, 2-6, 10-6 tiebreaker to win the Pacific Coast Conference title a few weeks ago.

Desert claimed its 15th state team title on Wednesday with a 5-1 victory over Foothill.

 Boyd beat No. 9 Julian Lafond of Irvine Valley 6-0, 5-2 (retired) in the quarterfinals and knocked out 11th-seeded Lirone Abecassis of Grossmont 6-0, 6-3 in the semifinals.

 Boyd fell behind 2-0 in the second set of each match, then rallied to win.

 “In my first match this morning, I won the first set 6-0, then immediately went down 2-0,” said Boyd, a sophomore from Solana Beach. “I was super tight and letting him move me around. I had to figure it out and started playing a little looser and let my arm be like jelly, which is hard to do when you’re hyper-ventilating.

 “I’m looking for a little revenge against Alex in the final.”

 Boyd and Kuperstein will battle for the state crown on Sunday at Libbey Park at 11 a.m.

 Kuperstein beat two Cerritos players on Saturday, cruising past No. 15 Jan Simon 6-4, 6-0 in the quarters, then storming back from a 4-3 deficit to take the first set of the semifinals from No. 3 Arthur Toledo, 6-4. Kuperstein broke Toledo’s serve to take his first lead at 5-4. Serving for the set, he built a 40-0 advantage on an overhead slam and then served an ace on triple set point.

 The second set was all Kuperstein as he won 6-0 to claim the last nine games of the match. He’s swept five matches at the state tourney and dropped just 12 games. Boyd also has five sweeps with 10 games lost.

 “It was very tight the whole match,” said Kuperstein of his semifinal win. “I knew if I just kept playing consistent, he would miss and that’s exactly what happened. Me and Kalman wanted to play each other in the state finals and now we’re here.

 “It’s very tough playing your teammate. We were both unbeaten when we met in the conference final. I still haven’t lost and if I win the next match, it will be the perfect season.”

 Boyd and Kuperstein are the No. 1 seed in doubles. They topped No. 9 Derek Lin/Parker McBride of Irvine Valley 6-1, 6-2 in a late afternoon quarterfinal. They’ll meet second-seeded Stephen Guenard/Sam Hall of American River on Sunday at 8 a.m. in a semifinal at Libbey Park South.

 No. 11 seed Jindrich Kosatik and Sergio Lee Gutierrez rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 quarterfinal win over No. 3 Younes Kodiji/Tommy Luu of American River. They’ll take on No. 1 Nicholas Khamphilath/Ryo Kojima of Foothill in Sunday’s other semifinal at 8 a.m.

 The doubles final is slated for 2 p.m. at Libbey Park.