Burbank High’s Hammel Wins First Pacific League Girls’ Singles Title

Sophomore earns 6-0, 7-6(7-3) victory in league tournament at Burroughs High.

(Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Things fell into place for Sena Hammel rather quickly.

It led to the Burbank High girls’ tennis player enjoying a milestone moment in her burgeoning career.

Hammel posted a 6-0, 7-6(7-3) victory against Srinidhi Saravanan of Arcadia in the singles championship match of the Pacific League Tournament on Wednesday at Burroughs High.

It marked the first league crown for Hammel, the second seed who finished fourth at the tournament in 2021.

“It’s great to win it,” said Hammel, a sophomore who earlier earned a hard-fought 6-4, 4-6, 10-3 win against No. 6 and teammate Bernadette Hovhanasian in a semifinal match. “I wasn’t expecting to win it, but I played well Monday [in the first two rounds of the tournament]. It’s a real good accomplishment and it will help me moving ahead.”

Saravanan, the No. 4 seed, registered a 6-2, 6-2 semifinal upset victory against No. 1 Anastasia Jorniak of Arcadia.

“I was surprised that Anastasia lost that set,” said Hammel, who will participate in the CIF Individual Tournament in late November at a site to be determined. “I was able to relax during the break [in between matches] a little bit.”

After breezing through the first set against Saravanan, Hammel rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the second set. Hammel held a 6-5 advantage before Saravanan knotted it at 6, forcing the tiebreaker that Hammel led throughout.

“I was down in the second set and then things started to work for me,” Hammel said. “My strokes were working and I just had a good mindset.”

Veteran Burbank coach Loi Phan said Hammel came into the tournament showing signs of improvement.

“To win both sets like that showed me something,” Phan said. “She played well Monday and during the last couple of weeks of the regular season. She started the season off strong and then she had a stretch battling her confidence.

“I told her to just go out there and enjoy playing instead of thinking about the wins and losses. She didn’t have many errors today and everything clicked in both of her matches. This will only help her down the road.”

Hammel and Saravanan didn’t meet in the two head-to-head matches during the season, both won by Arcadia.

Jorniak recorded an 8-0 victory versus Hovhanasian in the third-place match.

In doubles competition, No. 1 Mykalia Cheng and Samantha Wang of Arcadia won the crown with a 6-0, 6-1 win against No. 2 Lynn Chen and Anneke Chan of Arcadia. Cheng and Wang posted a 6-0, 6-0 semifinal victory versus No. 4 Brianna Kobramasihi and Nairi Zeytornzian of Burbank.

Chen and Chan notched a 3-6, 6-3, 10-5 semifinal win over No. 3 Madelyn Khun and Iris Chen of Arcadia.

In the third-place match, Khun and Chen earned an 8-3 victory against Kobramasihi and Zeytornzian.

Arcadia won the league championship, followed by Crescenta Valley, Burbank and Hoover. All four teams qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs. The pairings for all six divisions will be unveiled at 11 a.m. Monday.

Burbank will participate in Division I after reaching the quarterfinals in Division III last season.

Glendale finished fifth in league, followed by Burroughs and Pasadena.

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