Girls tennis preview: Huynh-Nguyen sisters reunite to help power Huntington Beach

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Sisters Cindy, Yen Nhi and Le Nhi Huynh-Nguyen forged a tight bond growing up in Vietnam playing tennis under the tutelage of their father and coach Tien Le.

From a young age, the girls practiced with and against each other nearly every day, and later competed together on a team representing Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam.

The training was rigorous but the girls progressed in the sport together, building a connection that would stand up to the challenges ahead on another continent.

The Huynh-Nguyen sisters are now teammates once again at Huntington Beach, a qualifier for the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs in the spring with big aspirations this fall.

“I think we have a pretty good team,” Yen Nhi said of the No. 4 Oilers, who have climbed divisions since winning CIF Division 3 in 2018. “We have a really strong doubles lineup.”

Cindy, who turns 17 next month, will focus on doubles with fellow senior Sophie Jin-Ngo.

In the spring, Cindy teamed with Yen Nhi, 15, to capture the doubles title in the Surf League and advance to the quarterfinals of the CIF individual championships.

Yen Nhi, a sophomore with a strong Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) of 8.5, plans to focus on singles this season alongside senior Solaya Han.

Le Nhi, 14, is a promising freshman who has yet to play this season after suffering significant burns in a boating accident about a year ago in Huntington Harbour. The incident scared the girls but Yen Nhi and Cindy remain supportive of their sister, who is optimistic she will return to action this fall in doubles.

On a recent sunny afternoon at the courts, Cindy was quick to suggest a shady spot for Le Nhi, whose skin is sensitive to the sun.

“We’re close,” Yen Nhi said. “And we’re on the same team so it’s easy to talk to each other.”

The sisters have always stuck together.

Growing up in Vietnam, they attended French international school Lycée Français International Marguerite Duras, about 40 minutes from the center of Ho Chi Minh City. The girls speak fluent Vietnamese, French and English.

In 2016, the girls moved to the United States because of their father’s manufacturing business.

“We were excited to learn something new, different cultures,” Cindy said.

Despite the changes, tennis remained a constant. The sisters continue to train nearly every day, though their father isn’t as involved in the coaching as before.

“He helped us improve a lot,” Cindy said. “He’s very strict but he’s a good coach.”

After this fall season, things will begin to change. Cindy doesn’t plan to play competitive tennis in college but instead will pursue a degree related to business management. In her spare time, she helps coach the junior varsity girls at Huntington Beach.

Yen Nhi aspires to play tennis in college and ranks as one of the best sophomores in Orange County.

The tennis future for Le Nhi is unfolding but there’s no denying her potential.

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