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Sarkissian, Campbell reign at Ojai

Tennis: Sarkissian is first-ever GCC player to win singles title at Ojai, then adds doubles crown with Campbell.

May 03, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Rest was hard to come by for Alex Sarkissian on Sunday.
But rewards were abundant, as the Glendale Community College standout became the first player in school history to win the Ojai Valley Tournament community college singles title, before teaming up with Trevor Campbell to win the doubles crown at the 111th annual rendition of the prestigious event.
“It’s definitely a big accomplishment to win both singles and doubles,” said Sarkissian, who improved to 26-0 on the season with his singles final win over Derek Siddiqui of Cerritos, 6-2, 7-5, before teaming with Campbell to outlast Oliver Andrzejczuk and Torsten Keil-Long, 7-6, 6-4, in the doubles and tournament finale. “It wasn’t easy.”
It was the first time since 2004 that one school swept both community college titles when Ventura pulled off the feat.
“It was a great victory. It was a great day for Glendale college,” Vaqueros Coach Bob MacKay said. “I just had a great feeling cause those two don’t lose together. I thought history might be made.”
Sarkissian began his day at 8 a.m. with a semifinal singles throttling of College of the Desert’s Rodrigo Schaefer, winning, 6-0, 6-1, before coming back to defeat Siddiqui. His day — and the tournament that began on Wednesday — concluded with his and Campbell’s sweep in a match that concluded the entire tourney, as played out on center stage.
“It was the biggest highlight, that’s for sure. It was great,” said Campbell of where winning Ojai ranked among his career highlights. “When I was 14, I went there and I saw the other players and I thought they were God. Living through [Sunday] is really amazing for sure.”
Sarkissian, who lost in the opening round of the men’s open singles tournament in each of the last two years at Ojai, didn’t lose a set in 12 total tournament matches. It was the conclusion of a day and a span in which Sarkissian admitted left him a bit worn out.
“I kinda was [tired],” Sarkissian said. “It’s been a long week.”
Together, Campbell and Sarkissian improved to 21-2 on the year, with, consequently, their only two losses coming at the hands of their Ojai finals’ foes. MacKay was confident going in that his squad could pull it out, though.
“I just had a good feeling that Trevor and Alex would find a way to win and they did,” MacKay said.
The victory was no doubt the biggest of the year for a duo of top singles players that MacKay put together at the beginning of the Vaqueros’ season and has left together in the hopes of an achievement such as Sunday’s.
“I kept them together the whole season cause I wanted them to develop their doubles,” MacKay said. “It came together.”
Added Campbell: “Definitely, we grew as a team. We learned to play doubles, really.”
In the first set, Campbell came up clutch with two serves during the tiebreak to cut Cypress’ lead to 5-4, before breaking Andrzejczuk on both of his serves to pull ahead, 6-5, before Sarkissian won it with a backhand passing shot.
While the second set was close, it was hardly as dramatic for the Vaqueros, who won the first four games before Cypress eventually cut it to 5-4.
“We relaxed more with the second set and we pulled it off,” Campbell said.
Sarkissian’s semifinal triumph was one of the day’s first matches, beginning a day that would end for him shortly after 7 p.m. with the conclusion of the doubles match. Fortunately, Sarkissian made quick work of Schaefer to set the tone for a long, but successful day.
“It definitely helps,” Sarkissian said. “You always want to try and keep the first one as short as possible to save your energy. The quicker the better.”
In the final, things weren’t quite as easy, but Sarkissian got the same result.
 “He just raised himself to another level,” MacKay said. “He figures out a way to win. He stays in the match, he figures it out. That’s what Alex can ¿do.”
After cruising to a 6-2 first-set win over Siddiqui, Sarkissian battled back from a 2-0 second-set deficit. After tying the set at 2, the players then held serve for the next seven combined games to put Sarkissian ahead, 6-5.
“He’s a good player, it’s definitely fun playing him,” Sarkissian said. “I felt like I was a little more experienced in those tight situations.”
The match eventually ended when Siddiqui went long on a backhand after a long rally.
“I walk into every tournament expecting to do good,” Sarkissian said. “Everyone’s goal is to win a tournament. That’s my only goal.”

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