Reese Stalder, who will be a senior at Newport Harbor High in the fall, finished second in the boys' 18s singles division of the Southern California Junior Sectionals tennis tournament.

Reese Stalder, who will be a senior at Newport Harbor High in the fall, finished second in the boys' 18s singles division of the Southern California Junior Sectionals tennis tournament. (Matt Szabo / June 29, 2014)

  • Related
  • Topics
  • Tennis
  • Staples Center
  • French Open
  • See more topics »

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — The final match didn't go his way, but that did nothing to damper the great week that Costa Mesa resident Reese Stalder had at the 112th annual Southern California Junior Sectionals tennis tournament.

Stalder won the boys' 18 doubles title with partner Billy Rowe, and came a match away from accomplishing the same feat in singles.

But Kalman Boyd of Rancho Santa Fe stood in the way Sunday afternoon at Los Caballeros Racquet & Sports Club. Boyd's game was a little bit too consistent for Stalder, who fell, 7-5, 6-2, in the championship match.

It ended a whirlwind couple of days for Stalder, who upset top-seeded Austin Rapp in the singles semifinals Saturday before winning the doubles title with Rowe. Then, Saturday night, Stalder went to the BET Experience concert at Staples Center to see rappers Outkast, ASAP Rocky and Rick Ross, among others, with a friend.

"It was a good week," said Stalder, a senior-to-be at Newport Harbor High. "I thought I played really well. I maybe could have done a little better, cut down a few errors in the finals. But I had a couple of really good wins, and I still feel good about my game right now."

Boyd has committed to USC, and USC men's tennis coach Peter Smith watched Sunday's match. Boyd was unseeded for Junior Sectionals, but that was a bit of a misnomer. He has played International Tennis Federation tournaments in South America recently and was going to play juniors at the French Open and Wimbledon, but decided against it.

"I've been playing futures [tournaments] and men's opens, and happened to play sectionals this year," Boyd said. "I'm sort of sticking to more local, United States [tournaments], and not leaving and playing ITFs anymore."

Stalder, seeded No. 6, hung in there in the championship match even after his serve was broken in the fourth game of the first set. He eventually fell down, 5-2, but held, broke then held again, evening the set at 5-5.

"Sometimes he would find a rhythm," Boyd said. "He would hit really soft, then I would hit it back soft, then he would crush it. That got me really on defense for a straight three games in that set. That scared me a little bit, but then he stopped doing that, and I felt better. He kind of got out of his rhythm."

After Boyd held at love, Stalder had to hold serve again to force a tiebreaker. Down, love-15, he called one of Boyd's shots near the baseline out.

But the umpire overruled Stalder's call, saying the ball was in. Stalder lost the point, and was suddenly two points away from losing the first set. He was eventually broken.

"Everyone that I've talked to said that it was well out," Stalder said. "It's part of the [game]. It was definitely a horrible time for it. It sucks that it had to be at such a big point, but nothing I could do about it."

Boyd broke Stalder's serve again to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. Stalder got the break back on a great backhand volley, but Boyd broke again in the following game for a 4-2 lead. Two games later, Boyd had the title.

Stalder's drop shots, typically a good play with his great hands, were less effective on Sunday.

"I did it too much," he said. "I thought I could draw him in and get him out of his comfort zone. They were just too high and ineffective today."

Still, Stalder remained happy with his play as he starts off a busy summer. He's headed to Texas soon to train with his friend, Henry Gordon, who went to Corona del Mar High his freshman year. Stalder and Gordon will then head to Florida for the United States Tennis Assn. National Clay Court Championships, which begin July 10.

Stalder said his play this week also could qualify for him for the USTA National Team Championships, which begin July 26 in Urbana, Ill. for the boys' 18s.

In other action Sunday at Junior Sectionals, Newport Beach resident Austin Di Giulio lost in the boys' 14s third-place match to Govind Nanda of Redlands, 6-1, 6-0.

Newport Beach resident Max McKennon fell to Bryan Kulikov of Los Angeles, 6-2, 6-3, in the finals of the boys' 12s round of 16 playoff. For the tournament, the No. 10-seeded McKennon finished 10th.