PASADENA — The Pacific League semifinals will serve as a platform for possible redemption for a pair of doubles teams and a singles player from the area.
The Burbank High duo of Ashley Basco and Meredy Gharabegi will join the Crescenta Valley tandem of Viktoriya Shumakova and Jacqueline Dilanchyan in Wednesday’s semifinal round at Pasadena High. The lone singles player to advance was Falcon Alexa Gregorian, who will also take part in a semifinal match Wednesday as well.
The athletes earned the right to advance to the second day of league play after doing well in Monday’s first- and second-round contests at Pasadena.
For Basco and Gharabegi, The No. 3 seed, it will be their third straight trip to the semifinals. Last season, the duo lost in the final to Arcadia's Elizabeth Liev and Nadia Pacheco-Amaro, 6-3, 6-3. In 2010, the pair was defeated in the semifinals.
“We went to CIF two years ago as the No. 3 doubles team and last year were No. 2,” said Basco, who along with Gharabegi are singles players who have been paired up the last three seasons in doubles at the league tournament. “We would really like to win it and take the championship.”
The Bulldogs pair began the competition with a first-round win against No. 14 Lilia Blkhoyan and Mary Pailevanian of Glendale, 8-0. That set up a matchup against teammates, Lilit Vardanyan and Elizabeth Sanchez, the No. 6 team, which defeated No. 11 Danielle Fabian and Imani Story of Glendale, 8-0.
In the match, the experience of Basco and Gharabegi paid dividends, as they defeated their teammates, 8-4.
“I told Ashley because we’re playing players from our team, whenever we get on the court we can’t goof around or anything,” Gharabegi said. “We had to take it seriously and play as hard as we can.”
In Wednesday’s semifinals, the Bulldogs duo will take on 2 Apaches duo of Ashley Gao and Tiffany Hsieh.
The other semifinal will pit Shumakova and Dilanchyan, the No. 5 seed, against the No. 1 seed Elizabeth Leu and Annie Tung of Arcadia.
Shumakova and Dilanchyan opened the day with an 8-3 win against Burbank’s No. 12 pair of Aja Locke and Gabrielle Markari. They then went on to topple the No. 5 team of Chris Gao and Janice Kim of Arcadia, 8-3.
“I think we just work well together, that’s why I we’ve been able to be successful,” Shumakova said. “We are just trying to play our best so we can make it to the next round.”
In last season’s semifinals, Shumakova and Dilanchyan fell to Basco and Gharabegi, 6-4, 7-5.
Getting a win in the first wound of doubles was the No. 10 team of Maria Garcia and Amanda Trinh of Burroughs, which upset No. 7 Angela Seo and Sarah Oh of Crescenta Valley, 8-0, and the No. 8 duo of Diana Karapetyan and Kristine Adzhemyan of Hoover, which got by No. 9 Dana Gibson and Veronica Mendoza of Burbank, 8-5.
Unfortunately for the Tornadoes pair, Adzhemyan severely sprained her ankle during the set and tried to play in the second round against Leu and Tung. However, despite a valiant effort, the Hoover pair had to retire.
“I give her a lot of credit for even trying to go out there and play on that ankle,” Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe said. “It was pretty badly sprained.”
At No. 4 singles, Gregorian played well in her two sets. Along with an 8-1 win against No. 13 Brianne Waller of Burbank in her opening set, she also defeated No. 12 Jessica Chow of Arcadia, 8-0, to advance the final four.
Gregorian will face a talented competitor in the semifinals in defending champion Francis Dean of Arcadia, the No. 1 seed. Dean sliced through her two opponents by 8-0 scores Wednesday.
“That will be a good game and I’ll try my hardest,” said Gregorian, who lost to Dean in two head-to-head sets this season by 6-0 scores. “I think I can handle her shots, and I’m going to be ready for her.”
The winner of that match will take either No. 2 Angelica Zhou or No. No. 3 Sharlene Song, both from Arcadia, who will play in the other semifinal.
Also notching a win in singles was No. 6 Petra Beglarian of Hoover, who downed an 11th-seeded Pasadena player, 8-0, and No. 7 Selin Auvazian of Crescenta Valley defeated No. 10 Alicia Singhanate of Burroughs, 8-6.