Getting a first-round bye in the CIF-Southern Section Boys Tennis Round of 32 at Whittier Narrows Tennis Center in South El Monte on Thursday, Trinity Classical Academy’s Dustin Kua played a couple practice matches against his friend and Granada Hills Charter boys tennis player Gary Vardanyan.
“I just thought that it would be a good idea, since I’m not playing until Friday, to get a couple matches in and stay loose with my buddy who’s also going to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with me,” Kua said.
Based on his Universal Tennis Rating (UTR.), the senior was ranked among the Top 8 players in the field and received a bye in the Round of 32 and automatically advances to the Round of 16.
Not knowing who he will play against until game day, Kua is confident in how he will approach the next match.
“No matter who I’m playing, whether it’s a No. 1 or the worst player in the field, I’m going to go out with the mindset to go for blood,” Kua said. “Not literally, but I’m out here to compete and win. Obviously, it’s not the end of the world if I lose.”
After Valencia’s doubles team of Jackson Boxall and Stephen Thay fell in the Round of 32 on Thursday, the Trinity tennis star is the sole Santa Clarita Valley representative remaining in the tournament.
Trinity doesn’t have a tennis program and Kua has been entering tournaments and training independently with his father, Dennis Kua.
“I think it’s better,” Kua said. “I’m actually grateful that I’m not playing in any league because I do pretty decent in tournaments, but if I did I’m pretty sure that I would play just as hard and qualify. But it’s less work in the long run.”
Playing in a Level 2 tournament last week (the Round of 32 is Level 3), Kua was able to advance to the semi-finals after playing and winning four matches against high-level competition.
With an initial goal of getting to the quarterfinals, Kua will try to focus in on his strength and the mental aspect of his game in order to move through to the next round.
“I’m not wondering if I’m going to get overpowered anymore. It’s more or less going to be grittier for me to make more balls,” Kua said.
“I’m going to focus on hitting but with more precision.”
Kua will play his Round of 16 match today at the Seal Beach Tennis Center in Seal Beach. Check-in is at 10:30 a.m.