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Getting better with age

Huntington Beach resident Art Hernandez has seven national senior tennis titles, and he'll look to defend his doubles crown at the Huntington Beach Open.

August 10, 2011|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • Art Hernandez, a Huntington Beach resident, will be competing at the Huntington Beach Open starting Friday.
Art Hernandez, a Huntington Beach resident, will be competing… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Art Hernandez is ready to hold court. It's something he's become accustomed to.

The long-time Huntington Beach resident has several national senior tennis titles to his credit — seven to be exact — and on Friday begins defense of a championship he won last year in his own backyard: a doubles title at the Huntington Beach Open.

Pacific Sands Cabana Club in Huntington Beach is hosting the annual event, which is holding its 50th anniversary tournament starting Friday at various tennis venues in the city. The tournament continues Saturday and concludes with division finals Aug. 20-21 at the club.

The Unites Stats Tennis Assn.-sanctioned tournament includes Open players and National Tennis Rating-ranked players in Men's, Women's, Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles competitions. Division winners and runners-up earn trophies and cash prizes will be awarded to semifinalists and finalists in the Open divisions.

Hernandez, 45, won a doubles title partnered with Brian Morton (Newport Beach) in the Open division at last year's event. This year, he will be teamed with Carsten Hoffmann of Newport Beach in the Open division. Last year, Hernandez was ranked No. 1 nationally for doubles in the 35s and 40s divisions. In 2009, he was ranked No. 1 in doubles in three age groups: 30s, 35s and 40s.

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"My hope is to shine a light on the world of Senior tennis and even with a very busy life, you can still compete in the arena," said Hernandez, who is a sales leader in the medical field and played men's tennis at UC Irvine during the 1980s.

Three weeks ago, Hernandez and Chris Kearney of Irvine, who played last year for UC Irvine, won the Southern California Open Sectionals doubles title in Seal Beach. The pair defeated four teams that were either collegiate or high-ranking Junior level players about to enter college.

Also at the tournament, Hernandez played in singles competition and won a first-round match against a top-rated 16-year-old player before being eliminated.

The Seal Beach tournament marked the first time Hernandez and Kearney played doubles together.

"Competing against opponents that were 25 years younger than me, and winning, was the best," he said. "It helps having a great player (Kearney) as a partner, as well."

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